Brazilian club whose fans racially abused referee ordered to play five matches away from home
Esportivo, from the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, have been fined about USD$13,000 and ordered to play five matches away from their home stadium after some of its supporters allegedly called the referee a "monkey" and told him to "return to the jungle" in a match on March 5.
Some expected that Esportivo would be banned from this year's regional tournament but the tribunal decided late on Thursday only to keep the team from playing at its stadium in the city of Bento Goncalves in its next five home matches.
The referee in question, Marcio Chagas da Silva, was in Brasília at the invitation of president Dilma Rousseff at the time of the trial.
The Brazilian premiere invited the official along with Cruzeiro midfielder Tinga and Santos midfielder Arouca, both of whom have been the targets of racist taunts in the last month. Arouca was not able to meet with the president due to club commitments.
Rousseff has publicly condemned the racist incidents, saying "sports can never serve as a stage for prejudice" as recent incidents have made front-page news in South America’s biggest country.
Players and fans carried banners with anti-racism messages in several matches last weekend and more are planned in upcoming matches.