Blatter condemns 'racist' Real Betis supporters

IAIN ROGERS
Last updated 03:49 27/11/2013

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter has condemned the Real Betis fans who apparently directed racist chants at their own player Paulao after he was sent off in their 4-0 derby defeat at Sevilla.

A group of Betis fans were briefly shown on Spanish TV making what appeared to be monkey chants at Paulao after he was dismissed shortly before halftime at the Sanchez Pizjuan. The incident was not mentioned in the referee's match report.

"Sickened to learn of 'fans' racially abusing a Real Betis player," Blatter wrote on his Twitter feed on Tuesday.

"I condemn their actions, which were seen on TV/online by millions," the Swiss added.

"FIFA's members approved a resolution at congress in May to tackle discrimination. It's time for tougher sanctions."

Soccer's world governing body agreed in May that evidence of racism should be punished with a warning, a fine and/or the playing of a match behind closed doors for "a first or a minor offence".

"For reoffenders or for serious incidents, sanctions such as point deductions, expulsion from a competition or relegation should be applied," they said.

Any person found guilty of a racist offence would be suspended for at least five matches and slapped with a stadium ban.

Betis published a brief statement on their Twitter feed after the match in which they said the club condemned any "violent or racist act", whether directed at an opponent or one of their own players.

Brazil-born Paulao said the monkey chanting was "a disgraceful act" and "very ugly".

"My family, in Brazil as well as here in Spain, are sad and worried," he was quoted as saying in Spanish media.

"When I left the pitch I was only upset about the sending off and I did not notice, although my friends told me about it later.

"It's good that this gets a lot of publicity so that action can be taken. We are all the same. Skin colour changes nothing."

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- Reuters

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