Hertha defender Torunarigha target of racist abuse at Schalke

Berlin (AFP) – Schalke officials say they will take action against the supporters who racially abused Hertha Berlin defender Jordan Torunarigha during a German Cup match in Gelsenkirchen.

Schalke’s sporting director Jochen Schneider said he has apologised to Torunarigha, a Germany Under-21 international, and vowed to find those responsible.

“There is zero tolerance. I lack any understanding for complete idiots of this kind,” said Schneider after Tuesday’s match.

“We will do everything we can to track down those responsible and impose consequences.”

Hertha coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his players complained after Torunarigha, 22, was the victim of racist chants before he was sent off during extra time in the 3-2 third round defeat.

“The boy was insulted. We told the referees that they had to protect him,” Klinsmann said.

Hertha defender Niklas Stark, 24, said he heard “monkey calls” aimed at Torunarigha and demanded action by the German Football Association.

“There were racist insults from the stands,” Stark said.

“Jordan is an emotional player and if something like that happened to me, I would probably be freaked out too.

“It’s not on and it’s only human to react like that.

“We, as a team, as a club, actually the entire Bundesliga, must stand behind him.”

The visibly upset Torunarigha was shown a yellow-red card in extra side after throwing a crate of drinks in frustration following a touchline tackle by the home side’s Omar Mascarell.

Schalke coach David Wagner also received a red card for appearing to briefly hold Torunarigha back.

“I didn’t hear the shouts, but I would like to apologise on behalf of Schalke 04 – that’s just not on,” said Wagner, who coached former Premier League side Huddersfield from 2015 until 2019.

“In England, when something like that happens, they (those responsible) get thrown out.”

Schalke striker Benito Raman, who scored the winning goal after the hosts came back from two goals down, said he saw Torunarigha “cry on the pitch, he wanted to stop playing. I encouraged him and told him to carry on.”

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