Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes on Tuesday launched their own investigation and released an anti-racism video after FC Porto striker Moussa Marega was subjected to racist insults at their stadium.
Marega was insulted during a league game on Sunday.
Vitoria said in a statement vitoriasc.pt/pt/news/index/view/comunicado-17-de-fevereiro-2020 that racism was a “problem of national dimension”.
The club added that the problem was one from which government entities “cannot distance themselves with simplistic declarations of selective rejection and censorship.”
Political and sports authorities, including the league’s organising body Liga Portugal, had earlier condemned the incident, while the police began an investigation on Monday.
Mali forward Marega was abused by Vitoria fans throughout the match which FC Porto won 2-1, and he scored a 60th-minute winner he celebrated by pointing at his skin.
He later posted a message on Instagram calling fans who targeted him “idiots” and also criticised referee Luis Godinho.
Vitoria’s president Miguel Pinto Lisboa said after the match that he “did not notice any racist insults.”
In the anti-racism video, club ambassador and former goalkeeper Neno and several first-team players talk about Vitoria’s colours and values.
“Perhaps not many people know why Vitoria’s colours are black and white.
“Vitoria wears those colours as a reference to equality and inclusion of all, without race discrimination,” Neno says.
Vitoria said they were working with police to identify those behind the abuse.
Racist behaviour is punishable by up to five years in jail in Portugal and can also attract fines of up to 10,000 euros ($10,800).
“Racism is an act of betrayal of the club’s foundation.
“Vitoria does not accept that the good name and image of the club and its supporters to be put into question due to a criminal act which, instead of representing their way of being, feeling and acting, affronts them,” Vitoria said.
The club criticised Liga Portugal for allegedly ignoring Vitoria’s condemnation of the Marega incident while simultaneously promoting condemnation from other clubs on the organising body’s social media channels. (Reuters /NAN)