Dutch players to protest at racist abuse by supporters
Players in the top two divisions of Dutch football will stand still for the first minute of matches this weekend as a protest against racism.
An anti-racism message will be also displayed on scoreboards during the opening 60 seconds at Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie games. While players stand, the message ‘Racism? Then we don’t play football’ will appear. An extra minute will be added to first half injury time.
The move comes after Excelsior forward Ahmad Mendes Moreira was racially abused by a section of FC Den Bosch supporters last weekend, with the game suspended for half an hour after the referee decided to take the players off the pitch.
After the match, Excelsior manager Ricardo Moniz praised referee Gerrets for how he handled the situation. “The referee did that on his own initiative and not because we asked for it. I think it is a very good action from the referee and very brave of him,” he said.
“You can see that the extreme right also exists in the Netherlands and is also sitting in the stands. These people are crazy, very sick in the head.
“I just approached our fans there and talked to them. That is the only way to tackle this. Clubs are often too lax and cowardly for this.”
The Dutch football association has said it would investigate the incident and look into possible sanctions against Den Bosch and its supporters.
The abuse of Moreira was condemned by many Dutch footballers including Lyon forward Memphis Depay – who described being “sick and tired” of seeing such scenes – while Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said the incident “really hit me on a personal level”.
During the Netherlands’ 5-0 over Estonia on Tuesday, Wijnaldum and team-mate Frenkie de Jong pointed to the colour of their skin after the Liverpool star scored the first of his three goals.
Den Bosch have apologised to Moreira for declaring the striker mistook “crow sounds” for racist abuse during the Dutch second division match.
A series of racist incidents has tainted European football recently.
Italian striker Mario Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch after receiving alleged racist abuse earlier this month while Shakhtar Donetsk forward Taison was shown a red card for reacting to racist jeers from the crowd during a match.
Ahmad Mendes Moreira was racially abused by fans