Former Arsenal player Emmanuel Frimpong faces a multiple game ban after he was sent off for responding to ‘monkey’ chants from Spartak fans, while playing for FC Ufa in the opening game of the Russian Premier League.
The Ghanian midfielder made an obscene finger gesture towards the opposition stands just thirty minutes into their 2-2 draw, which saw him collect a straight red and receive plenty of criticism from his own club.
The 23-year-old showed his frustration while speaking to the reporters after the match, and said:
“When the match was stopped, the fans started shouting ‘monkey’ at me. Then the monkey chants started. I don’t have any problems with the Spartak fans in general. I just did not keep my cool, I showed my emotions and it was my mistake. I want to say sorry for what I did,” Frimpong said as reported in BBC.
Ufa General Director Shamil Gazizov also saw this as an unfortunate event, and confirmed that the club wouldn’t be seeking any action against Spartak Moscow.
“It was an unfortunate incident. There were people who could have shouted things. These are emotions which go away after the game. We are partners with the red and whites and are on good terms,” he said.
He added: “What Frimpong did was wrong. Sometimes you even have to hold back the tears and just put up with it.”
Frimpong later posted a series of tweets, explaining that he was racially abused for the game that he loves, and also mentioned that it was only one fan in the stands who triggered his anger, and not the rest of the Spartak fans.
First of want to apologize for the sending off after being provoked shouldn't have happened but also am a human being shouldn't be ...— I AM FRIMPONG (@IAMFRIMPONG26) July 17, 2015
Racially abused for the game that I love fantastic result to draw with Spartak proud of team and I'm going to serve a sentence for being ...— I AM FRIMPONG (@IAMFRIMPONG26) July 17, 2015
Abused..and yet we going to hold a World Cup in this country where African will have to come play football I must stressed not all Spartak— I AM FRIMPONG (@IAMFRIMPONG26) July 17, 2015
Fans done that only one person had to ruin it Spartak fans were brilliant and created a good atmosphere shame oneperson ruin it we live on..— I AM FRIMPONG (@IAMFRIMPONG26) July 17, 2015
This was not the first time a black player has been punished for reacting to racist abuse in the Russian Premier League. Since 2013, three black players besides Frimpong have been punished with two and four-match bans for making insulting gestures towards the crowd.
Racism has been prevalent in Russia, with over 100 racism-related football incidents taking place in the country over the last two seasons.Published 18 Jul 2015, 17:39 IST