WATCH:

Brazilian player racially abused after match

The Associated Press

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Fans yelled racist insults at a Brazilian soccer player being interviewed by reporters after a match, the latest case of racism to hit the country that will host the World Cup in a few months.

Santos midfielder Arouca, who played for Brazil's national team last year, was on the field talking to reporters after his team's 5-2 win in the Sao Paulo state championship on Thursday when some fans in the stands called him ''monkey.''

The insults came a day after a referee said he was targeted by racist fans before and after a match, and less than a month after another Brazilian player was insulted in a Copa Libertadores game in Peru.

''It's better to block that out, better not to listen to these people, if you can actually call them people,'' said the 27-year-old Arouca, who scored one of Santos' goals in the interior city of Mogi Mirim. ''It's hard to talk about what is happening these days. It's tough, but we know it happens, not only in soccer. I just hope someone can do something serious about it because it's lamentable.''

While still talking to reporters, Arouca kept looking at the stands to try to find the fans who yelled at him. Reporters later said the insults came from a group of three or four Mogi Mirim fans.

Brazil has been making headlines for the wrong reasons as it tries to get ready for the World Cup. In addition to problems finishing stadiums and infrastructure work, the country has also been dealing with several cases of fan violence and court disputes that threaten to delay this year's Brazilian league because of a controversial sports tribunal decision that altered the results of last year's tournament.

''We can't let something like this happen, especially with the World Cup just around the corner,'' Santos coach Oswaldo de Oliveira said after the insults to Arouca. ''These people need to be punished.''

Police officials said they would try to find the fans responsible.

On Wednesday, referee Marcio Chagas da Silva said some fans called him ''monkey'' and told him to ''return to the jungle'' before a match in the Rio Grande do Sul state championship. He said his car was vandalized and bananas were left on top of it.

''Unfortunately, this type of attitude is still happening in this country,'' Silva said.

Last month, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff gave her support to a black Brazilian player who was taunted with monkey chants every time he touched the ball during a Copa Libertadores match in Peru. On her Twitter feed, Rousseff called the incident involving Cruzeiro player Tinga ''sad,'' adding that ''sports can never serve as a stage for prejudice.''

Racist behavior is a longstanding problem at matches in Europe. FIFA has sponsored anti-racism campaigns that have had modest levels of success, and it has promised to raise more awareness during this year's World Cup.

---

Follow Tales Azzoni at https://twitter.com/tazzoni

View Comments (0)
  • Pique expects Barcelona to benefit from Neymar's Olympic glow

    Pique expects Barcelona to benefit from Neymar's Olympic glow

    (Reuters) - Neymar should return to Spain with renewed enthusiasm after leading Brazil to their first soccer gold medal at an Olympic Games, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said. Neymar, who has scored 85 goals in 141 games in his three seasons at … More »

    Reuters - 28 minutes ago
  • Wales manager Coleman eyes job in Europe

    Wales manager Coleman eyes job in Europe

    (Reuters) - Wales manager Chris Coleman has distanced himself from a return to the Premier League, indicating that he might prefer to work in Europe when his time in charge of the Euro 2016 semi-finalists ends. Coleman, who has had previous spells … More »

    Reuters - 39 minutes ago
  • West Ham trying to sign Bony from Manchester City, says Bilic

    West Ham trying to sign Bony from Manchester City, says Bilic

    West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed the club are trying to sign striker Wilfried Bony from Premier League rivals Manchester City. The Hammers have been seeking to bring in another forward all summer, a search that has been … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 41 minutes ago
  • Benteke will improve as he plays more, says Pardew

    Benteke will improve as he plays more, says Pardew

    (Reuters) - Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has backed Christian Benteke to hit top form once the Belgian striker spends more time on the pitch. Benteke made his debut for the club in the 2-0 League Cup win against Blackpool but was substituted … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 46 minutes ago
  • Rooney would be great for MLS, says Portland Timbers owner

    Rooney would be great for MLS, says Portland Timbers owner

    (Reuters) - Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney would be a "great signing" for Major League Soccer, Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson has said, adding that the 30-year-old still has plenty to offer. Former England midfielders Steven Gerrard … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 47 minutes ago