Ban for footballer who was racially abused
The German FA was fined after fans unfurled a neo-Nazi banner during Euro 2012
Germany’s football association is struggling to salvage its image following disclosures that it had suspended a Nigerian-born goalkeeper for throwing a plastic bottle at fans who were repeatedly taunting him with racist chants.
Ikenna Onukogu, a 27-year-old player with the Lower Rhine regional side Hertha Hamborn, was banned from playing for six matches after the incident earlier this month during a game against the Dostlukspor Botrop.
The football association justified it decision saying that Onukogu was suspended for “grossly unsportsmanlike behaviour... in the interests of match security”.
But according to eyewitnesses – including Hertha Hamborn’s president, Christian Birken, and several opposing players – Onukogu was mobbed by supporters of Dostlukspor Botrop who gathered behind his goal and called him a “monkey”.
They said the supporters threw a plastic bottle at the goalkeeper and told him: “Stick it up your arse”. Onukogu had alerted the referee to the hostile crowd but the game was allowed to continued. He said that in exasperation he picked up the bottle and threw it back in the direction from which it had come.
“The soccer association was not behaving correctly,” said Onukogu. “Why does something like this happen after I have been insulted and intimidated? Mr Birken said the soccer association and the match referee had “totally failed” to act properly.”
The German association campaigns actively against racism on and off the pitch, although it was fined €25,000 (£20,000) after the national side’s game against Denmark at Euro 2012 at which fans unfurled a neo-Nazi banner.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Sami Khedira to Arsenal? Arsene Wenger reveals Gunners are still in the market for defensive midfielder
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Risky business to think Balotelli can replace Luis Suarez
Malky Mackay texts: Harry Redknapp defends former Cardiff City manger - 'he hasn't raped anyone and he is not a paedophile'
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians