The governing body of South American football, CONMEBOL, launched an investigation into suspected racist shouting by Gimnasia y Esgrima supporters against Colombia international Hugo Rodagella at the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday.
Following the Argentine team’s 1-0 victory over Colombians Independiente de Santa Fe on Tuesday, Rodallega claimed some Gimnasia fans had called him “monkey” and “black”.
“CONMEBOL is against all types of discrimination and has even increased the penalties to combat racism in football,” a source at the governing body told AFP.
The source added that those responsible for the body’s disciplinary committee have opened a file on the case.
Rodallega’s allegation came only days after Brazilian player Vinicius Jr. of Real Madrid endured comparable racial taunts during a weekend game against Valencia in Spain.
On Tuesday, Spanish police detained seven persons in connection with the racial abuse, and the Valencia stadium’s one stand was ordered closed for five matches by Spanish football officials.
“It’s sad that we come here (to Argentina) and this happens. I’m not saying we lost because of the people (shouting abuse) but this racism drains you,” Rodallega told television cameras after the match.
“Them calling you monkey, calling you black, is a lack of respect,” added the 37-year-old, who once played for Fulham.
Gimnasia, on Wednesday, issued a statement condemning the abuse and claiming they, too, were victims.
“As an institution we repudiate any specific and individual act that happened against the player,” said Gimnasio vice-president Pablo Arrien.
“This doesn’t just happen in Europe,” added Arrien, who said the club had started trying to identify those responsible for the abuse. “Football still has a lot to learn.”
In accordance with CONMEBOL rules, teams, players, and officials that use discriminatory language can be fined or suspended.
(with inputs from AFP)
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