(Buenos Aires) The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) opened an investigation on Wednesday after the denunciations of a Colombian player who complained of having been called a “monkey” by supporters of the Argentinian club Gimnasia, Tuesday night in a Copa Sudamericana game.
“There is an ongoing investigation,” opened on Wednesday by officials of the confederation’s disciplinary committee, a source told Conmebol.
Tuesday evening, at the end of a match of the South American equivalent of the Europa League between Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata (ARG) and Independiente de Santa Fe (COL), the Colombian international striker of Santa Fe Hugo Rodallega, interviewed in the field, complained of having been the victim of racist cries.
“That they call you a monkey, black… it’s a lack of respect, it makes you really sad to come here to Argentina and have this happen,” said the 37-year-old, visibly moved. “I’m not saying we lost because of that, but really this subject of racism, it’s drunk.”
The insults, which according to him targeted other teammates, would have occurred at the end of the first half, after a clash between players which resulted in four expulsions, a player from each camp and the two coaches. Gimnasia won 1-0 with a goal in added time.
Skirmishes “are things that happen on the pitch. We can argue, we can even fight, there can be expelled, it’s normal. But when people start leaving on race, it makes me sad, sadder than angry,” added Rodallega, a 44-time Colombian international.
“We’re really not improving as a humanity. It’s a disaster what is happening all over the world, “concluded the player who notably played in England (Wigan, Fulham) and Turkey (Trabzonspor, Denizlispor).
The Gimnasia club reacted on Wednesday by saying they “condemn any specific or individual act [of racism] that may have targeted” Rodallega. The club has undertaken to “identify the people who [the] attacked, we will see if they are subscribers or not, and depending on it we will apply” the protocol of sanctions, said vice-president Juan Pablo Arrien.
Conmebol for its part recalled its firmness against “any type of discrimination” in football, and that in parallel with its “Basta de racismo” campaign in 2022, it has reinforced the sanctions against racism, with fines of up to up to $100,000 for the club, and a minimum five-game suspension for a player.