South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL on Wednesday opened an investigation into alleged racist chanting against Colombia international Hugo Rodallega by Gimnasia y Esgrima fans in the Copa Sudamericana.
Following the Argentine team’s 1-0 victory over Colombians Independiente de Santa Fe on Tuesday, Rodallega claimed some Gimnasia fans had called him “monkey” and “black”.
“CONMEBOL is against all types of discrimination and has even increased the penalties to combat racism in football,” a source at the governing body told AFP.
The source added that those responsible for the body’s disciplinary committee have opened a file on the case.
Rodallega’s claim comes just days after Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Jr. was subjected to similar racist chants during a weekend match away to Valencia in Spain.
Spanish police arrested seven people on Tuesday over the racial abuse while Spanish football authorities ordered that one stand at Valencia’s stadium — where the abuse originated — be shut for five games.
“It’s sad that we come here (to Argentina) and this happens. I’m not saying we lost because of the people (shouting abuse) but this racism drains you,” Rodallega told television cameras after the match.
“Them calling you monkey, calling you black, is a lack of respect,” added the 37-year-old, who once played for Fulham.
Gimnasia released a statement on Wednesday condemning the abuse and said they too had opened an investigation.
“As an institution we repudiate any specific and individual act that happened against the player,” said Gimnasio vice-president Pablo Arrien.
“This doesn’t just happen in Europe,” added Arrien, who said the club had started trying to identify those responsible for the abuse.
“Football still has a lot to learn.”
CONMEBOL statutes allow the body to fine or suspend players, officials or clubs if found guilty of discriminatory language.