Racist abuse in Bratislava derby: 'We didn't show racism the red card, but showed it to ourself'13 November 2007

With President Ivan Gasparovic and chairman of the Slovak Football Association (SFZ) Frantisek Laurinec sitting in the stands, football fans at the derby match between Bratislava teams Slovan and Artmedia shouted racist abuse at Artmedia's black midfielder Karim Guede, reports Slovak daily Plus Jeden Den

The Slovan fans made monkey noises every time Guede touched the ball. The Artmedia player was born in Germany but has family roots in the African country of Togo.

According to FIFA and UEFA regulations, referees are supposed to take action in such cases, and can even stop the game. Match official Pavel Olsiak did nothing, however, claiming later that the abuse wasn't so bad. However the match was broadcast by Slovak national TV's second channel (STV2), and the TV commentator Marcel Merciak, who described the noises, stated that the referee has the right to end the match.

Laurinec condemned the abuse, however. He said that he expects it to be mentioned in the match report and that the SFZ will take action. He was particularly shocked by the fact that even some Artmedia fans joined in the chants.

Gasparovic's spokesman Marek Trubac said that the president would welcome a harder line on such behaviour, but Plus Jeden Den were convinced that Gasparovic didn't show any obvious signs of displeasure at the match itself.

Slovac jounalist Sergey Danilov commented “we didn't show racism the red card, but showed it to ourself”, adding “So far, I don't know of any Corgon League (Premier League) referee, who doesn't just talk about racism but also acts against it.”

Michal Riecansky of FARE partner 'People against Racism' commented, “Nazihooligans are on the rise once again and the number of racist, xenophobic or anti-semitic incidents is climbing again. Meanwhile the Slovak FA seems to have turned their back to the whole issue of racism in Slovak football. They are ignoring the issue, taking no action to deal with racist incidents or plan anti racist activities along with us. For example their promised participation in the FARE Action Week ended only in words, whilst our efforts to contact them and take action on this issue have proved fruitless. Our efforts are being effectively ignored and it seems that almost nothing but a UEFA intervention will change their stance. If this trend continues, the situation may slump to an all time low, with physical attacks as well as racist incidents raising to new heights.”