LICRA demands inquiry into Lyon player racist abuse20 April 2012

French FARE network partner the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) has called for an immediate inquiry into allegations that Lyon striker Bafétimbi Gomis was target of racist abuse during a cup tie in Corsica.

Abuse thoughout the game
Gomis alleged that monkey noises were made throughout the Coupe de France semi-final with Gazélec d'Ajaccio, which the Ligue 1 side convincingly won 4-0 to reach their second cup final of the season. The French international also claimed that he had a banana thrown at him.

“It's for this reason that I covered my ears when celebrating my goal,” he told leParisien.

“Maybe I should not have…I let myself get carried away but I was sad for my brothers [of colour] who experience these things when they come here.”

The bad-tempered match – which saw Ligue 3 (National Championship) side Ajaccio reduced to 10 men in the first half when Anthony Colinet launched into a dangerous tackle on young French forward Alexandre Lacazette – was held up for five minutes by a brawl at the game's conclusion.

Critisism at French FA
LICRA has criticised the French Football Federation (FFF) for its reaction to the incident and has called for an urgent inquiry.

LICRA expressed its incomprehension and surprise about “the lack of a reaction from the FFF in the last 48 hours and asks for an inquiry to be opened without delay,”

“LICRA has listened to the testimony of Bafétimbi Gomis; the player affirmed that he was the victim of racism from the Corsican supporters.”

Last year the FFF was engulfed in another racism row after tape recordings of meetings involving senior national team officials, including France coach Laurent Blanc, were made public and highlighted those present discussing a quota for black and Arab players in French youth teams.

Blanc – who, after taking control of the national team, appointed [black player] Alou Diarra the Marseille midfielder, as captain – was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Previous incidents in Corsica
Responding to the Gomis case, LICRA also highlighted a number of similar incidents on the island of Corsica, which is situated between France and Italy, in the last few years.

“LICRA is alarmed in recent years at the increase of such incidents in Corsica,” it said.

“This latest one, if proved, would echo the racist incidents at matches between FC Calvi and the AJ Auxerre reserves in January, and the meeting between AC Ajaccio and Le Havre.

“For its part, LICRA has already had contact with Lyon to deal with the matter.”