Paris (AFP) – Friday’s French Ligue 1 game between Dijon and Amiens was temporarily suspended after the visitors’ captain Prince Gouano complained he was racially abused.
The game was stopped in the 78th minute as players from both sides headed towards the touchline of the Stade Gaston-Gerard after Gouano said he heard insults from behind the goal his side was defending.
Play was resumed following discussions between players, coaches and officials after which Gouano approached the stand by pointing toward supporters in the crowd.
“We are in the 21st century, it’s unacceptable, I marked the incident by stopping play because these days we are all equal,” Gouano told French broadcaster BeIn Sport.
“Of course there are colours, but you have to rise above it. We are all human beings. The key word for me is love. You have to love the person next to you,” he added.
Paris-born Gouano stated in March his wish to represent the Ivory Coast.
“I didn’t hear the chants but if there were of course we totally support the cause, like with Blaise Matuidi at Juventus, when he wanted to stop the match,” Dijon forward Benjamin Jeannot told BeIn Sport.
“I find it normal he wanted the game stopped, it’s not easy to control, I deeply support him,” he added.
The incident comes after rising Italy star Moise Kean was targeted by racist abuse in Cagliari after he scored for Juve in Serie A earlier in the month.
Recent high-profile incidents, including monkey chants aimed at England players during a Euro 2020 qualifier away to Montenegro also highlighted the lingering problems within football.
English international Raheem Sterling rejected calls for players who are the targets of racial attacks to walk off the pitch, saying that winning matches is a more powerful statement to silence abusers.
The game finished goalless as both sides look to avoid relegation from the French top-flight.
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