Racism ruins Reds victory02 November 2005

Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League victory over Anderlecht was unfortunately marred by a racist incident.

Danish referee Kim Nielsen, never shy of brandishing the red card, sent Anderlecht’s Serbian substitute Nenad Jestrovic walking after clashing with Liverpool’s Mohamed Sissoko in the 75th minute. The incident happened just yards from the ref, who claims he heard Jestrovic racially abuse the Liverpool midfielder.

Jestrovic later denied the charge, claiming he was dismissed for obscenity. However, many news sources are quoting the insulting line to include “Black B******”. Nielsen’s referee report is now being studied by UEFA who have confirmed that they are investigating the incident.

Common occurrence
Anderlecht coach Frank Vercauteren said, “It's possible it could have been racist abuse. I cannot approve of something like that on the field but I think it happens a lot. If I have to believe my player, which I do, then Sissoko should have gone off as well. He didn't say the same, but he said something also.

I can't explain it in detail but I can say that the type of language used you hear 50 times in a game. From what I know, Sissoko insulted Jestrovic and Jestrovic replied in kind, and that the referee only heard him and sent him off.”

Still much to do
This latest incident comes just days after FARE’s Action Week, Europe’s biggest anti-racist event. Although a resounding success, with over a thousand different actions in over 30 countries, this incident shows the dangers of becoming complacent.