Racist remark angers Ajax


REPRESENTATIVES of Ajax have boycotted a lunch with Atletico Madrid officials ahead of Wednesday's European Cup quarter-final clash because of allegedly racist remarks made by the Spanish club's owner, Jesus Gil, before the first leg two weeks ago.

Prior to the match in Amsterdam, which finished 1-1, Gil said: "Those from the Congo and the Antilles - you see them warming up, five blacks there, four there, three more on the field - it looked like the Congo to me... with all respect".

He has since refused to apologise for the comments, saying yesterday: "I've never been racist, whatever they say. The colour of the skin is not a sign of racism for me.

"Ajax seem marvellous to me. Do I know the players? No, not all of them... (only) the best known. There are so many blacks there that I don't know them."

There are no black players currently at Atletico, although South African Quinton Fortune played some games for the first team last year and has since become a regular for the reserve side.

Ajax coach Louis van Gaal condemned Gil for the remarks, saying that he would not come to Spain to criticise the Spanish.

Atletico coach Radomir Antic suggested that Ajax may be stirring up the row. "Perhaps this victimisation is used to give good luck or something," Antic said.

"This isn't the first time that it's happened with Ajax," he added, in an apparent reference to the rough reception given to Ajax's black players at Hungary's Ferencvaros in last season's European Cup.