(GIN) – A Brazilian midfielder was subjected to monkey chants and jeers from the stands of the Stadion Karlj etar Prvi in Serbia – just months after an anti-racism taskforce was disbanded by order of the soccer federation FIFA.
Everton Luiz left the field in tears on Sunday after he was racially abused by sections of a rival team’s supporters.
The match was briefly stopped at one point while security guards removed a banner insulting Luiz. Warnings to fans issued over the stadium’s PA system failed to stop the abuse.
After the match, he told reporters: “I’ve been suffering racist abuse during the entire 90 minutes and also was upset by the home players, who supported that. They were all attacking me.”
“I want to forget this as soon as possible. I love Serbia and the people here. That is why I cried. But please say no to racism.”
In response to rude and abusive catcalls at European games, a Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination was set up in 2013 by the world soccer federation but was shut down last September, saying it had achieved its mission.
The decision stunned soccer star Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast who was a consultant to the group.
Toure questioned why the action was taken just prior to next year’s World Cup in Russia, where there has been a history of players being racially abused.
“I wish I could say that I am shocked by the decision,” said Osasu Obayiuwana, another task force member at the time, but unfortunately I am not. The problem of racism in soccer remains a burning, very serious on which needs continuous attention.”
“So after failing to deal with racism sufficiently for decades – why stop when something is beginning to work?” he asked “Is (the federation) being complacent ahead of a World Cup in Russia? This makes no sense.”
The most recent research from the Moscow-based rights group SOVA Center and Soccer Against Racism in Europe, uncovered a surge in the number of racist incidents involving Russian fans, with most cases going unpunished. Researchers logged 92 incidents of discriminatory incidents by Russian fans in and around stadiums in the 2014-15 season, against a total of 83 for the previous two seasons put together.