Man City abandon game after alleged racist abuse

Under -21 side walked off pitch in Novigrad, Croatia, after Seko Fofana was sent off following an off-the-ball clash


Manchester City abandoned their under-21 game with HNK Rijeka in Croatia on Tuesday after an alleged incident of racist abuse towards one of their players by an opponent. They walked off after the midfielder Seko Fofana was sent off following an off-the-ball clash.

A Manchester City statement read: “Following an alleged incident in the latter stages of the first half of the game, being played in Novigrad, Croatia, a decision was taken by the management staff to withdraw the City team from the field of play and cancel the game.

“Club representatives in Croatia and in Manchester are liaising with officials, the match organisers and the Croatian Football Association to pursue this matter further.”

City are coached by Patrick Vieira, who as an Arsenal player in 2000 was a victim of racist abuse from Lazio’s Sinisa Mihajlovic. Rijeka were leading 1-0 when play was abandoned.

A statement from Rijeka read: “Manchester City coach Patrick Vieira entered the field, something was discussed with the referee, and then to the amazement of a well-filled stadium he took his team off the pitch. What are the reasons? They are known only to him.”

Fofana, a France Under-19 international, joined City from the Ligue 1 side FC Lorient in January 2013.

Four months ago City’s Devante Cole, son of the former striker Andy, was racially abused by Atlético Madrid fans at a youth match also overseen by Vieira. Uefa fined Atlético €10,000 and ordered a partial stadium closure.

City have been the victims of racist incidents at senior level too. Yaya Touré was abused by CSKA Moscow fans last October and the midfielder, together with Mario Balotelli, was targeted by Porto supporters in February 2012.

In January of last year the midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led a walk-off by Milan players after he was the target of racist abuse from Pro Patria supporters in a friendly match. Last December Watford’s Under-19 team were ordered to leave the field by their coach during a game against Latina Calcio in Rome after an alleged incident of racist abuse.

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