SINGAPORE: Singapore football officials vowed “zero tolerance” of racism yesterday after a visiting Liberian player responded to racial taunts by raising his middle finger to the crowd.
Abuse of Terengganu’s Francis Forkey Doe, 26, began in the warm-up of Tuesday’s FA Cup quarter-final second-leg match against Singapore’s Lions XII, and was also directed at a dark-skinned linesman, according to witnesses.
“There was a group of maybe seven or eight fans at the opposite end of the grandstand who were making racial slurs … Orang hitam (black man) and even the n-word also came out,” undergraduate Muhammad Nadjad Abdul Rahim told AFP.
“The rest of the crowd would cheer these guys and some joined in,” he added.
Racist jeers were also heard when the linesman awarded a throw-in for Terengganu in an incident involving Doe.
“A guy made a comment ‘sama (same) colour’ and there was a big cheer,” said Muhammad.
Doe, who had incurred the wrath of Singapore fans over an incident in which Hariss Harun was sent off in the first leg, made the rude gesture to fans during the warm-up, the witness added.
“They kept calling me ‘monkey’ and ‘black’ and I didn’t appreciate that. Why call me those names? Because I’m black? Because I’m African?” the player told Singapore’s The New Paper.
“Football is a game, a friendly game. You can’t say things like that. It’s not right.”
The FA of Singapore (FAS) said they had not been informed of the incident, but stated that it took a strong stance against racism.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of racism and have always stressed that there is no place for racial discrimination in our society,” a spokesperson from FAS said.
Race cases have hit the headlines in football recently with former England captain John Terry facing charges of alleged racial abuse. In Italy, Lazio and Juventus were both fined for racist chanting by their fans.
Terengganu reached the FA Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 win on aggregate.
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