Brazilian football unites in support of racially abused player17 February 2014

AseriesofmessagesofsupporthavemultipliedacrossBrazilinsupportofCruzeiromidfielder,Tinga,whowassubjectedtoracisttauntsduringtheCopaLibertadoresmatchagainstRealGarcilaso,inPeru,lastWednesday(12February).

From supporters and players, to clubs and the game’s governing body in Brazil, the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF), Brazilian football sent a unified message of disapproval towards the incident, and in solidarity with the player, took a stand against discrimination in football.

During the Copa Libertadores match, the most important tournament in Latin American club football, between Real Garcilaso, from Cusco, Peru, and Cruzeiro, from Belo Horizonte, South East Brazil, fans of the Peruvian side made monkey noises every time the Brazilian midfielder Tinga received the ball.

In the aftermath of the incident, the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, used her twitter page to classify the incident as “lamentable”, and say that “sport can never be used as a stage for prejudice”.

“I have agreed with ONU and FIFA that our World Cup will be the World Cup against racism”, she added.

#NOTORACISM
At the team’s arrival in Brazil after the match, 60 fans of Cruzeiro welcomed Tinga at the airport of Tancredo Neves/Confins, in Belo Horizonte, with improvised banners against racism.

“I came to boost the club’s morale, and particularly to show my support for Tinga. I think this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. I don’t understand it. It was a complete non-sense.” explained Ramon dos Reis, a 23 year-old supporter of Cruzeiro.

Over the weekend’s Brazilian league matches, fans and players of several teams joined the anti-racism movement, initiated on twitter through the hash tags #NoToRacism, ‪#RacismoAquiNão, #RacismoNao, #TamoJuntoTinga and #FechandoComOTinga, and through banners showed their support for the 36 year-old player.

Following the incident, at the match between Atlético-MG and Cruzeiro, played on 16 February, the home team fans held a stadium tifo against racism and displayed a “Say No To Racism” banner supporting the Cruzeiro player.

Similarly, the players of Fluminense and the fans of Grêmio Recreativo, known as the Dragões da Real, displayed banners with the messages “We are all equal” and “No To Racism” respectively.

The manager of Real Garcilaso, Freddy García, and the team’s goalkeeper, Juan Pretel, both apologised for their fans’ behaviour.

“I did not see it, but it is a regrettable attitude. We want to send our apologies to the club and the player. We also want to ensure them that we will take action against this because the name of our club cannot be linked to acts of this nature”, said García.

“If I could choose, I would rather win the fight against prejudice”
After the final whistle of the original match, Tinga said:

“If I could choose, I would rather win the fight against prejudice than any title. I would change that for an equal society.”

Media reports have suggested that the Venezuelan referee José Argote, who arbitrated the match between the two sides, did not include the incident on the match’s report.

The club, however, has reported the incident to the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) but awaits the governing body’s decision on the matter.

Messages in support of Tinga on twitter: