Emre under investigation following Zokora incident
Fenerbahçe midfielder Emre Belözoğlu was sent to the Professional Soccer Disciplinary Committee (PFDK) by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) following allegations that he used a racial slur against Trabzonspor’s Didier Zokora.
As the TFF requested the PFDK take precautionary measure against the footballer, popularly referred to simply as Emre, ahead of a final verdict, the midfielder will not be playing in the Sunday’s game against Galatasaray.
Emre, who previously faced accusations of racism when playing for Newcastle United in the 2006-07 season, has denied that he used a racial slur against Zokora.
Fenerbahçe’s win against the Black Sea’s Trabzonspor on Sunday (15 April) was overshadowed when Zokora made a statement to Lig TV right after the game, stating that the 31-year-old player, popularly referred to simply as Emre, verbally abused him using a racial slur.
“Emre and I had an argument during the game. I beg your pardon for saying this, but he insulted me by saying ‘n—-r.’ What upsets me more is how disgraceful it is for a player who has African teammates like [Moussa] Sow and [Joseph] Yobo to insult an African from another team. I didn’t reply to him to prevent a fight in the game,” Zokora said.
After Zokora’s statement, Emre said both Zokora and he used “stupid” words when speaking to each other during a tense game, in initial statements on the incident made to a TV show on Sunday night. However, he later denied his earlier remarks and Zokora’s accusation at a press conference on Monday, saying he misunderstood the question as he was riding in a car during the telephone interview.
Emre strongly denied claims that he uttered racist remarks and said when he called the TV show on Sunday night he only admitted to swearing at Zokora but not using the word in question.
The Fenerbahçe midfielder added: “Racism is something that we never see in our culture; however, I saw how it exists when I was playing in England. Racism is not a social behavior, but something that exists in a person. If I have even a little bit of racism, may God take my heart away from this body.
“It is only a misunderstanding as Zokora’s English is not so good, neither is mine. I have also spoken to Trabzonspor’s manager Şenol Güneş and I’d like to thank him for his supportive telephone call.”
“In my opinion racism cannot be reduced to words; it is an inner thing and it is bad according to my faith,” he said during the press conference. Despite first admitting to it, Emre said he did not use the n-word, but said “p—k,” a word he learned during his stay in England.
From World Bulletin