At the San Marcos v Deportes Iquique match on Saturday (22 November), in Arica, Chile’s northernmost city, Rentería was racially abused by Iquique fans while celebrating a goal. The abuse lead the player into tears and the match was stopped for a few minutes while San Marcos players tried to calm down the 30 year-old.
Later into the match, at around 70 min, the Caracas-born forward was again the target of racist chants and Julio Bascuñan, the match referee, decided to halt the game and make a stadium announcement due to Iquique fans’ repeated racist abuse.
In a statement, hours after the final whistle, the ANFP said: “The communication department of the ANFP has agreed to strongly condemn this afternoon’s incidents at the match between San Marcos and Deportes Iquique, which lead to its suspension.
“Moreover, the ANFP have promptly asked for the referee and security’s match reports to analyse the incidents and look into the actions that the Disciplinary Committee needs to take.”
Iquique justifies the abuse
Former Chile national team coach and Iquique manager, Nelson Acosta, claimed to not have noticed the abuse.
“It occurred to him [Rentería] to say that he was racially abused and to start crying, he said that fans chanted the same as in Rancagua and the match was suspended for that. We [Iquique] have been abused since the first minute there.
“A match can’t be suspended so lightly and just like that”, added the Uruguayan-born coach, while Cesare Rossi, Iquique President considered the happenings “unpleasant for both teams” and stressed “a match should finish how it is supposed to, if we are going to start stopping matches for any foolishness or these type of things, we are going to kill football”.
Hours after the abuse a video started to circulate on the internet showing Acosta’s assistant coach Fernando Astengo also racially abusing the player.
On its official Twitter account the Iquique club seemed to justify their fans’ behaviour, saying “Renteria celebrated the goal in front of Iquique fans,” adding that it was after this that “he was insulted and the game was suspended.”
On its end, San Marcos Twitter account was flooded with support messages to the player and condemnation. The club also showed their indignation towards their opponent following their reaction to the incident.
This is the second time Rentería is subjected to racist chants in less than a month. On 7 November, the O’Higgins and San Marcos de Arica encounter was also halted for some minutes after O’Higgins fans racially abused the Venezuelan player. The incident prompted the reaction of the country’s football and sport authorities.
Peru in condemns racism in football
Following the first incident targeting the Venezuelan international the Peruvian anti-discrimination campaign in football – Ponte Alerta contra el Racismo en el Futbal – released a statement on the happenings.
It read: “In Chile, racist demonstrations in football have never been as numerous as in Peruvian football, but what happened last weekend was shameful.”
“We hope the reaction [to the incident] is fast and that it will help eradicate this kind of behaviour; that it will open precedents, sanctions that can correspond to the seriousness of the actions, and that racism and any type of discrimination are stamped out of Chilean, Peruvian and the world’s football.
Chilean player Jean Beausejour showed his support for Rentería and said: “In solidarity with Rentería. To me this [racism] would take place in football.”.
José Roa, chief of Estadio Seguro, Chile’s response to violence and discrimination in football, has stressed that amends will be made to the current legislation, before the start of next season, to strongly sanction discriminatory behaviour in future.