Three men have reportedly handed themselves over to authorities after allegedly making racist remarks about Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan during Germany’s friendly with Serbia, as per doing the round in the former country. The Manchester City pair both played a big part for the hosts in the game in Wolfsburg on Wednesday evening, which also saw Sane luckily escape serious injury after a nasty stoppage-time challenge by Milan Pavkov, which earned the Serbian forward a straight red.
Thanks to an account of a German journalist, Andre Voigt, that explained the kind of abuse that Sane and Gundogan had been subjected to by three individuals, the national team put out a strong statement. “The DFB condemns the racist incident in the international match against Serbia on Wednesday in Wolfsburg in the strongest terms. During the match at the Volkswagen Arena, national team players Leroy Sané and Ilkay Gündogan were constantly insulted by a small group of spectators,” it read.
“Thanks to the support of a fan, the DFB was able to locate the ticket buyer for the seats where the spectators were sitting. The police have been turned on and are now investigating.”
And now, according to reports in Germany, the three men have admitted to police to being responsible. When speaking about racism in December after City teammate Raheem Sterling was yet again subjected to hate and chanting, Gundogan recollected his own experiences. “Obviously it’s something we all have to fight, we all have to play our individual roles to make it better for everyone. We have to deal with it.
“It’s not easy because I lived it in the summer as well. I know how that feels and it hurts. But at the end we have no other choice but to stay strong and try to go through that period and try to do our best on the football pitch. To keep being successful, that’s what matters.”
It is never a comfortable topic, racism, when it comes to any walk of life, let alone football and sport, but that is the reality that we all live in. Such acts, which have no place in society, must be met with the severest if punishments, and should include jailing as well, when and where necessary. Racism has also recently reared its ugly head in football a few too many times for the sports’ own well-being, so the authorities need to come up with the best solutions to tackle such a perverse issue that is practices by few and leads to and entire society or group being defamed. There has to come a time when sportspersons of colour must feel welcome and equally loved as their white counterparts, and should not be subject to such abuse wherever they travel!
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