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Man City friendly sparks racism row

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By Joe Haining

Thursday 24 July 2014

Manchester City coach Patrick Vieira took his young side off the field causing a friendly to be abandoned amid claims one of his players had been racially abused, reports The Telegraph.

Patrick Vieira

City were playing an under-21 friendly against Croatian side HNK Rijeka in Novigrad on the Croatian coast, and were trailing 1-0 when the incident occurred.

Shortly before half time, the Blues’ French midfielder Seko Fofana was red carded for kicking an opponent in what was said to be a retaliatory gesture after he was racially abused.

Coach Vieira then spoke to the referee, and after consulting players and his coaching colleagues decided to pull his players from the pitch, causing the match to be called off.

However the Croatians have unequivocally rejected the claims, pointing out that they have a number of Nigerian players in their squad who have never complained at any such discrimination by their local team mates.

Rijeka coach Ranko Buketa even went as far as suggesting that the move was designed to disguise the seriousness of Fofana’s act of violence. “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.

This incident is the latest in a number of complaints in recent years that have been made by City regarding acts of racism against their players, most notably Mario Balotelli in a match against FC Porto, and more recently Yaya Toure with CSKA Moscow.

In these previous cases City’s complaint has been upheld, resulting in fines for the opponents responsible, although it is said they are still considering whether to pursue formal action in this case.

19-year-old Parisian Fofana joined City from FC Llorient last summer, but has yet to make an appearance in the Blues’ first team.

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