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Suspect in custody over racist abuse at Ligue 1 game

Lyon (AFP) – A suspect is being held in custody after Amiens captain Prince Gouano complained of suffering racial abuse during Friday’s Ligue 1 game at Dijon.

The goalless draw in Dijon was halted in the 78th minute as players from both sides stopped playing and headed towards the touchline after monkey chants were directed towards Gouano.

“An inquiry is ongoing and a person is currently in custody in the wake of these events. His custody will be extended tonight, to allow further investigation,” Dijon prosecutor Eric Mathais said in a statement.

It was the latest in a string of incidents of racist abuse that have blighted football this season, and prompted FIFA president Gianni Infantino to urge football authorities across the world to take a “zero tolerance” stance on racism.

“It’s over,” Gouano said after the game was interrupted. “We’re not playing on. I’m taking off my team-mates. We’re going to the changing room.”

Following discussions between players, coaches and officials Gouano approached the stand by pointing toward supporters in the crowd. Play then resumed.

“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 Sports after the game.

“I heard monkey sounds…” Gouano told reporters afterwards. “I turned around and there indeed was a man who was looking in my direction and who was continuing (to make the noises).”

The French football league (LFP) strongly condemned the abuse and said it would explore legal options, while Dijon said they intended to press charges against the individual.

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