CommentingontherecentincidentsofracisminChileanfootball,CONMEBOL President JuanÁngelNapouthaspledgedto severelypunishanydemonstrationofdiscriminatorynatureintheConfederation’sfootballaheadofthe2015Copa América,whichChilewillhost.
Concerns were raised over the issue and how it is being addressed in the host country of the 44th edition of the event, after the Venezuelan international Emilio Rentería was subjected to racial abuse at a Chilean premier league match for the second time within two weeks.
Speaking at the announcement of the 2019 hosts of the Copa América, whilst in Viña del Mar, Chile, the President of South American football stressed that racism in football is not only a problem of Chile, but a generalised problem in the region.
“We have to work together and raise awareness of the issue and that it has to be eradicated no only in terraces, but also in society” said the 56 year-old Paraguayan, adding that the Confederation will impose “severe sanctions” to deal with discrimination ahead of the 2015 event.
‘I feel embarrassed’
Chilean FA President Sergio Jadue also commented on the incident. At the event, Jadue said he “felt embarrassed” with the negative image at a time that all eyes are on Chile.
“Chilean society has been showing signs of intolerance for a long time and this is something we have to address. However, there seems to be something particular about this player and I am very sorry about”, said Jadue.
He said the FA will meet on Wednesday (25 November) to analyse the weekend’s incidents and take action for the abuse Rentería was subjected to 15 days ago, in Rancagua.
Rentería considers leaving Chile
Following the incident, Emilio Rentería, a forward for San Marcos de Arica, said he was considering leaving Chile.
“I am not sure if I will stay in Chile. My mother and several family members have called me crying [over the incident].”
After playing in countries including Chile, the US and Spain, the Venezuelan forward claimed never to have experienced anything similar.
“I will play these next two games and once I have a moment I will go back to my country to better assess things”.
“I celebrated goal in anger’
Accused of teasing the opposing fans while celebrating the only goal at the weekend’s match, Rentería said: “About the goal, I celebrated it with anger. I am tired of these same things [racist chants] but never with the intention to insult anyone.”
“At the end I could not handle it anymore” explained Rentería on how the incident lead him to tears.
On the 2015 Copa América, the player rhetorically asked: “What if this happens in matches involving Venezuela, Ecuador or Colombia?”