DUISBURG, Germany (AP) — A third-division soccer game in Germany was abandoned Sunday due to racist abuse directed at a visiting player.
Referee Nicolas Winter initially stopped the game between hosts MSV Duisburg and Osnabrück in the 35th minute after monkey chants aimed at Osnabrück forward Aaron Opoku.
“There was a corner for Osnabrück, and when the player wanted to take it, there were monkey sounds from the stands. He noticed it immediately and so did the assistant. Both of them described it to me," Winter said.
Winter said it was an incident “that we are very sensitive to and that we react directly to ... (I) could see how shocked he (Opoku) was.”
Osnabrück did not want to play on and the game was called off around 10 minutes later. The score at the time was 0-0.
“Osnabrück – and that is more than understandable – can no longer compete. The guy is in bits and everyone — the whole team — is distraught. Honestly, we are too after this incredible incident,” Duisburg press officer Martin Haltermann told Magenta TV. “We’re all pretty speechless at the moment.”
Osnabrück managing director Michael Welling said there was no chance of continuing the game.
“Aaron is very, very deflated and no longer able to play. That’s one of the reasons we said we would not play on,” said Welling, who added that racism had “no place in society and therefore also not in soccer.”
Welling said Duisburg’s Leroy Kwadwo also suffered racist abuse while the players were gathered on the sideline after the initial racist incident.
Most fans from both teams present positioned themselves against racism and shouted “Nazis out” among other chants afterward, while an anti-Nazi song from German band Die Ärzte was blasted around the stadium.
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The Associated Press