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For the first time, a German professional football match has been abandoned due to alleged racial abuse. This came after a player from Osnabrück said he had suffered verbal racist abuse from the stands in Duisburg.
An Osnabrück player said he suffered verbal racist abuse from the stands
A football match in Germany’s third division was abandoned on Sunday after a player said he was was racially abused by a fan.
Referee Nicolas Winter stopped play between MSV Duisburg and VfL Osnabrück in the 33rd minute with the score still 0-0 after one of the visiting Osnabrück players, forward Aaron Opoku, said he had suffered racist abuse from the stands.
“There was a corner for Osnabrück and then monkey noises from the stands,” said Winter. “I could see how shocked the players were.”
The offender was identified and escorted out of the stadium, but the match was then abandoned after Osnabrück stated they were unwilling to continue.
“We must not accept this,” said Osnabrück CEO Michael Welling, adding that Duisburg player Leroy Kwadwo was also racially abused.
Kwadwo has been the target of racist abuse before while playing for one of his previous clubs, Würzburger Kickers.
At the time, racism expert Gerd Wagner called for matches to be abandonedin response.
“VfL Osnabrück — more than understandably — cannot continue,” Duisburg press officer Martin Haltermann told German broadcaster Magenta TV. “The player is distraught and the whole team has had enough. And so have we, to be honest, after this unbelievable incident. We’re all speechless.”
While many Duisburg fans chanted “Nazis out!” and the stadium PA system played a well-known anti-Nazi punk song, Duisburg’s official Twitter account tweeted: “We understand [Osnabrück’s decision] entirely and accept the situation. A bitter afternoon for football in Duisburg.”
Press officer Haltermann added: “It’s shameful. Hopefully this is the final warning for all the brainless people in this country and across the world to accept and respect people as they are.”
German police said a 55-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the incident.
“The accused has made a statement. In addition, videos are being viewed and other witnesses are being questioned,” a police spokeswoman told German news agency DPA on Monday.
DPA said the investigation was ongoing, with police also checking if there were
monkey sounds, as indicated by the referee.
The German Football Association (DFB) was also looking into the matter.
Osnabrück were relegated from Bundesliga 2 last season and are currently in midtable in the third division.
Duisburg, Bundesliga runners-up in the Bundesliga in 1964 and top-flight ever presents until 1982, are in the relegation zone of the third division.
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