Racist incidents across Europe mars matches over the weekend


Football across the continent was marred by three separate sickening incidents of racist abuse over the weekend in the Premier League, the Belgian Pro League and in the German third tier, where a match was abandoned for the first time due to racism. 

Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany, the manager of Anderlecht, was targeted by Club Brugge supporters in Sunday’s 2-2 draw. It prompted Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku to take to Instagram calling for change.

‘An icon like Vincent Kompany has been insulted because of his skin colour… Enough is enough… take real action now,’ Lukaku wrote.

Kompany himself told Belgian television channel Eleven: ‘I leave this match disgusted. My staff and I were insulted during the whole game. Racist insults that were aimed at the players too.

‘The day ends badly. I’m going to get together with my staff and the people who matter to me. We should not still have to go through this.’

Club Brugge slammed the behaviour of their fans, saying in a statement: ‘These individuals are not representative of the values and norms of our club and have no place in Jan Breydel Stadium.’

Vincent Kompany (centre) has spoken out against Club Brugge fans after being racially abused

On Saturday, Arsenal's Rob Holding (second right) reported racist abuse aimed at his team-mates by a Leeds fan during their Premier League encounter at Elland Road

On Saturday, Arsenal’s Rob Holding (second right) reported racist abuse aimed at his team-mates by a Leeds fan during their Premier League encounter at Elland Road

German third division side VfL Osnabruck walked off the pitch on Sunday after one of their players,  Aaron Opoku (third right) was the victim of a racist remark by a Duisburg fan

German third division side VfL Osnabruck walked off the pitch on Sunday after one of their players,  Aaron Opoku (third right) was the victim of a racist remark by a Duisburg fan

In Saturday’s solitary Premier League encounter between Arsenal and Leeds at Elland Road, Gunners defender Rob Holding reported racist abuse from a Leeds United fan.

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Sportsmail understands the accusations relate to abuse by Leeds fan towards Arsenal substitutes Nicolas Pepe and Nuno Tavares, who were warming up next to the West Stand at Elland Road.

Holding was seen speaking to fourth official John Brooks during the first-half and referee Andre Marriner stopped the match briefly to hear the Arsenal defender’s account.

Police arrested one supporter following the incident and Leeds are making a club investigation into the matter.

Holding received praise from Arsenal hero Ian Wright for how he handled the situation.

‘You have to applaud people like Rob Holding,’ Wright told Premier League Productions. ‘When you are being racially abused it’s very difficult to get up and do that as a black person without people coming down and piling on and saying “here he goes, here he goes”.’

‘So for Rob Holding to get up and do that for his teammates is something for me, being in a dressing room and knowing what that’s like wanting that kind of help, that is fantastic.

‘What should happen now is he should be found, we should be able to find him because it’s there for everyone to see and he should be prosecuted and banned.’

The alleged taunts were understood to have been aimed at Nicolas Pepe (above)

Arsenal left-back Nuno Tavares is also believed to have been targeted

The alleged taunts were understood to have been aimed at Nicolas Pepe (left) and Nuno Tavares (right) who were warming up on the sidelines

Arsenal hero Ian Wright praised Rob Holding for how he handled the situation at Leeds

Arsenal hero Ian Wright praised Rob Holding for how he handled the situation at Leeds

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In Germany, meanwhile, the third division match between MSV Duisburg and visiting team VfL Osnabruck was stopped in the 33rd minute when Aaron Opoku, on loan at the away side from Hamburg, was the victim of a racist remark by a home supporter.

Opoku’s team-mates then refused to play the remainder of the fixture at the MSV Arena in solidarity with the player, leaving the match abandoned. 

The fan was identified by stadium officials in Duisburg and was ejected from the ground, as the home fans chanted ‘Nazis Out’ as they joined in solidarity with Opoku, 22. 

Duisburg’s stadium PA announcer then played anti-fascist song ‘Schrei nach Liebe’ as they continued to display their disgust at what one of their own supporters told the German player, who is of Ghanaian descent. 

Afterwards, MSV spokesman Martin Haltermann said, according to BILD: ‘It is absolutely understandable that Osnabruck can no longer play. We can only be ashamed. I hope it is the last warning for all the hollow heads who are still around here, in this country and in the world, to accept and respect everyone for who they are.’

Referee Nicolas Winter revealed that he spoke to Opoku to offer his support to the abused player.

‘We’re going to write a special report,’ said the official. ‘We are all shocked. Something like that is very dramatic in already difficult times.

‘I was in the changing room and spoke to the player. I told him that it was very important to us to protect him.’

In Germany Opoku (left), 22, was distraught by the remark and his Osnabruck team-mates walked off the pitch in solidarity with him

In Germany Opoku (left), 22, was distraught by the remark and his Osnabruck team-mates walked off the pitch in solidarity with him

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Duisburg described Sunday afternoon's incident as the 'lowest point in the club's history'

Duisburg described Sunday afternoon’s incident as the ‘lowest point in the club’s history’

England's players were targeted by Hungary fans in a World Cup qualifier back in September

England’s players were targeted by Hungary fans in a World Cup qualifier back in September

Earlier this year, England manager Gareth Southgate spoke out in support of his players after they were racially abused in their September 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Hungary after taking the knee.

‘I don’t think our players can do anything more than they have done in the last two or three years to get the right messages out, to take the right stands and it is for other people to protect them,’ Southgate said. ‘It is for me to protect them in the main but for the authorities to protect them as well.

‘Everybody knows what we stand for as a team and that’s completely unacceptable. There’s no more that this group of players – and all the staff in fairness — could do in the fight against racism. 

‘We’re trying to uphold our part of it and other people have got to take the right action to try and make progress.’

Hungary were later fined £158,416 by FIFA and ordered to play two matches behind closed doors.





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