Scotland deny Neymar was target of racist abuse

By Ben Rumsby
Sunday 23 October 2011 00:50

Scotland fans and the Scottish Football Association have refuted claims Brazil star Neymar was racially abused by the Tartan Army in yesterday's friendly at the Emirates Stadium.

A banana was thrown onto the field during Brazil's 2-0 victory over the Scots yesterday, while Neymar accused some spectators of racist behaviour - a claim repeated by team-mate Lucas Leiva, who retrieved the banana.

It is unclear whether it was thrown by a supporter of either side or by a neutral and an SFA spokesperson told Press Association Sport: "There has been no such incident reported to the police or the stadium safety officer.

"In fact, the tens of thousands of Scotland supporters who travelled to the Emirates were commended for their behaviour.

"The Scotland supporters are known the world over for their impeccable behaviour and we have no reason to believe that, after speaking to the relevant authorities, they have been anything other than exemplary.

"The Scotland fans helped create a wonderful spectacle inside the Emirates and throughout London and should be applauded for their support."

Neymar, who scored both goals yesterday, was jeered by some spectators after receiving treatment in the first half following a Scott Brown challenge.

Tartan Army spokesman Hamish Husband strongly denied the catcalls were racially motivated.

He said: "The reason Neymar was booed was because we believed he was feigning injury.

"Racism has no place in the Tartan Army and if it did, it would be stamped out immediately because we are self-policing.

"Any suggestion of racism from the Tartan Army, as far as I am concerned, is absolute tosh.

"We accept that Brazil played us off the park, and we applauded them for that."

Neymar, who has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea, said: "I feel great and scored two but what happened with the banana is sad.

"I don't want to make a big deal of it.

"I was running down the touchline in the second half and saw it but I didn't see where it came from."

He added earlier on Brazilian television channel Sportv: "They were jeering me a lot, even when I was about to kick the penalty.

"The entire stadium was jeering. This atmosphere of racism is totally sad.

"We leave our country to play here and something like this happens. It's sad. I'd rather not even talk about it, to keep the subject from escalating."

Liverpool midfielder Lucas said: "There is no more space for racism in the world.

"They say it's the first world here in Europe, but it's where it happens the most. That has to change.

"Everybody is equal today. It's a matter of respect."

Yesterday's incident was the third involving alleged racism towards a black player in the past nine days.

World Cup-winning Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos was subjected to similar abuse before Monday's Russian Premier League between his Anzhi Makhachkala side and Zenit St Petersburg.

That came two days after Port Vale defender Exodus Geohaghon claimed he had been racially abused by his own club's fans as he left the field at the end of last Saturday's npower League Two defeat at Accrington Stanley.

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