Dutch prosecutors probe racist chants at football match

2019-11-18 15:02

The Hague - Dutch prosecutors said Monday they were investigating racist chants that caused a second division match to be halted.

The referee briefly suspended Sunday's game between Excelsior Rotterdam and Den Bosch and Excelsior winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira walked off the pitch.

Moreira said he heard monkey noises and songs about "Black Pete", a traditional Dutch Christmas-time character that appears in blackface and attracts accusations of racist stereotyping, Dutch media reported.

"We are working with police to see what exactly happened... and examine whether it can be established who were involved," the Dutch federal prosecution service for the Oost-Brabant region said on Twitter.

It was looking at "visual material" to find the culprits, it added.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the incident was "really terrible".

"There is no place for racism in this country. Well done to the referee," Rutte said.

The Dutch football association said the incident would be investigated.

The chants were "downright disgusting," Jan Bluyssen, competition affairs manager of the association, told NOS Radio.

"I am just angry and disappointed that this is still happening in 2019," he added.

The association said in a statement that "together with the club, we are now looking at how the perpetrators can be traced and dealt with."

- 'When is it going to stop!!?' -Another match involving Den Bosch was suspended in 2013 after repeated racist chants targeted AZ Alkmaar forward Jozy Altidore in a cup match.

Den Bosch had also faced previous sanctions for racist behaviour by their fans, with 50 of them banned from the stadium for the 2012-13 season.

Netherlands international Memphis Depay -- who was not involved in Sunday's game -- called on UEFA to act after the incident.

"I'm sick and tired to see these images over and over! When is it going to stop!!?," Depay wrote on Twitter. "@UEFA what we going to do? Specially with the upcoming @EURO2020."

European footballing authorities have been trying to crack down on racist chanting after a series of incidents, including at a Euro 2020 qualifier between England and Bulgaria in October.

The Dutch incident heightens the annual controversy over "Black Pete", the country's traditional Saint Nicholas sidekick. He is portrayed in winter parades and by many Dutch children with a black face, thick red lips, woolly hair and a gold earring.

Hollywood celebrity Kim Kardashian weighed in on the issue at the weekend. "This Dutch 'tradition' called: 'black pete' is disturbing!" she tweeted, linking to an article on the subject. 

Read more on:    euro 2020  |  soccer


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