Croatian Football Federation to investigate racism claim
The Croatian Football Federation (CFF) has said it will investigate Manchester City’s claim that a player was racially abused during an Under-21 game.
Patrick Vieira took his side off the pitch after Seko Fofana, 20, complained he suffered racial abuse during a friendly against HNK Rijeka on Tuesday (22 July).
“We will have a good look into the matter,” the CFF said in a statement. “We follow a strong no-racism policy.”
The match was abandoned, but Rijeka called the racism claim “baseless”.
Fofana was sent off for an off-the-ball challenge shortly before half-time, and then made the allegations which led to the players leaving the field.
The CFF said it was “in the process of gathering information” relating to the incident, adding: “If there are any decisions to be made we’ll make it public on our website.
“Fighting against racism (and any sort of discrimination) is one of the key components of our president Davor Suker’s programme.”
However, Rijeka are adamant there is no case to answer.
On Wednesday (23 July), the club issued a statement saying: “Rijeka clearly and unequivocally rejects any possibility that the players at the match against Manchester City participated in assaulting the rival players on racial, religious or ethnic grounds.”
The club added: “We are surprised by the unpleasantly harsh and baseless accusations of which we are accused and that we completely reject.”
Ranko Buketa, who was in charge of Rijeka’s team on Tuesday night, accused City of trying to deflect attention from Fofana’s red card.
“It looks like a move which is trying to hide a very ugly foul by the Manchester City player that resulted in exclusion, followed by a hasty and illogical decision of the coaching staff to withdraw the team from the field,” he said.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, currently in Kansas on the club’s United States tour, gave Vieira his backing.
Fofana joined City from French club Lorient in 2013 but has yet to make his first-team debut.
City have complained about allegations of racism on three occasions in the past four years and in each instance their claims have been proven.
In October, City midfielder Yaya Toure called for stronger action against racism after he was subject to chanting from CSKA Moscow fans.
The Russian club were fined 50,000 by UEFA and ordered to close part of their stadium.