Soccer game

3rd tier football match abandoned in Germany after racist abuse

DUISBURG, Germany (AP) — A Third Division soccer match in Germany was scrapped on Sunday due to racial slurs directed at a…

DUISBURG, Germany (AP) — A Third Division soccer game in Germany was scrapped on Sunday due to racial slurs directed at a visiting player.

Referee Nicolas Winter initially stopped the game between hosts MSV Duisburg and VfL Osnabrück in the 33rd minute after monkey chants were directed at Osnabrück striker Aaron Opoku.

“There was a corner for Osnabrück, and when the player wanted to take it, there were monkey noises in the stands. He noticed it immediately and the assistant too. Both described it to me”, Winter said.

The referee also said he could see how shocked the 22-year-old Opoku was.

Duisburg press officer Martin Haltermann said the suspected culprit was quickly identified with the help of other fans.

Osnabrück did not want to continue playing and the game was called off about 10 minutes later with the score 0-0.

“It’s not possible that we always find slogans, that we stick slogans on T-shirts. We have to react when something like this happens,” said Osnabrück general manager Michael Welling. .

“Aaron is very, very deflated and can’t play anymore. That’s one of the reasons we said we wouldn’t play,” Welling said. “Whatever the sporting consequences, we had to show that we , as a club, we don’t accept it.”

The German Football Association is investigating the incident. Its vice president, Rainer Koch, condemned all forms of racism in a statement on Sunday and called for those responsible to be punished.

“It’s the only way to put an end to these incorrigibles. The perpetrator must be held fully responsible,” Koch said. German football as a whole had a long and uncompromising stance against any form of racism, he said, adding that racists had no place in German stadiums.

“I’m glad the referee, officials from both clubs and the overwhelming majority of spectators in the stadium made that clear,” Koch said.

Fans of both teams took a clear stance against racism and shouted “Nazis out” among other chants afterwards, while an anti-Nazi song by German band Die Ärzte was played around the stadium.

“Osnabrück – and this is more than understandable – can no longer compete. The guy (Opoku) is in pieces and everyone – the whole team – is distraught. Honestly, so did we after this incredible incident,” Haltermann told Magenta TV. “We’re all pretty speechless right now.”

Welling suggested Duisburg’s Leroy Kwadwo also suffered racist abuse. The 25-year-old Duisburg defender was among several players who rushed to support Opoku after the initial racist incident.

Welling expressed his thanks to the Duisburg supporters “for reacting the way they reacted. MSV identified the attacker through his fans.

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