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South Korean FA files complaint to FIFA after Como player's alleged racist remark sparks outrage

Fri, Jul 19, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

South Korean FA files complaint to FIFA after Como player's alleged racist remark sparks outrage

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The Korean Football Association has filed an official complaint with FIFA over an alleged racist remark directed at Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Hwang Hee-chan during a recent preseason match in Spain.

KFA's complaint comes after Hwang, a South Korean player, reported being subjected to an anti-Asian remark during Monday's match against Italian club Como. Hwang reported the incident during the second half, leading to angry responses from his teammates, including Daniel Podence, who was sent off for punching a Como player.

"In an official letter sent to FIFA on July 18, the Korea Football Association expressed its grave concern over the racist abuse that Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton) suffered from an opposing player during a recent practice match and requested that FIFA further strengthen sanctions against the perpetrators to prevent and eradicate racism on the football field," the association said on its official X account.

Wolves' head coach has said Hwang has "the full support of the Wolves group."

Como defended the accused player, who hasn't been named, stating that he didn't say anything derogatory and only referred to Hwang as "Jackie Chan," a widely known Hong Kong star known for his kung fu action films.

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In a statement posted on Como's official X account Tuesday, Mirwan Suwarso, the ownership group's official representative, said: "Our club does not tolerate racism and condemns all forms of it in the strongest possible way," but added that one of their players made a Jackie Chan comment based on Wolves players referring to Hwang as "Channy."

Former France star Thierry Henry - who is now the coach of the French Olympic team - and former Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas are both minority shareholders in Como, which was promoted to Serie A at the end of last season.

The incident made headlines in South Korea, with local news outlets, including South Korea's mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper and major television networks reporting extensively.

Hwang addressed the incident on his Instagram, stating: "Racism is intolerable in sports and in all aspects of life," drawing supportive comments from soccer players, local celebrities, and fans from around the world.

The Korean Football Association's complaint marks the first time it has officially addressed FIFA regarding racial abuse of South Korean players abroad. The Association is calling for stronger sanctions to combat racism in soccer.

It comes after a week when the French soccer federation also pledged to file a complaint with FIFA over "racist and discriminatory remarks" by Argentina players in post-match chants about France's team after their Copa America title win. Gibraltar's soccer federation also said Tuesday it is taking legal advice about Spain players' "extremely provocative and insulting" chants at a welcome home party for the European Championship title winner.

It's not the first time South Korean players have suffered racist abuse playing in the European leagues.

Tottenham player Son Heung-min repeatedly faced racial abuse on and off the field throughout his career outside of South Korea.

In 2022, Son spoke of facing "lots of racism" as a young soccer player in Germany. Tottenham called on social media companies to take action after Son was subjected to " utterly reprehensible " online racist abuse in February 2023.

In June, Tottenham midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur apologized to teammate Son Heung-min for making an offensive comment about South Koreans when he said they more or less look "all the same" on a Uruguayan television show.

Bentacur later apologized on Instagram, stating, "It was just a very bad joke!"

Kick it Out, an anti-discrimination charity, said it has received a "significant number" of complaints about Bentancur's comments.

"We recognize Bentancur has acknowledged the offense caused, however it highlights a wider issue that heavily affects East Asian and wider communities," the organization stated. Tottenham subsequently released a statement stating: "We fully support that our captain Sonny feels that he can draw a line under the incident and that the team can focus on the new season ahead."

Lee Jae-sung, a South Korean midfielder playing for Bundesliga club Mainz in Germany, wrote about facing racial abuse in Germany.

"It's hurtful to me, but to them, it's just a cheap joke. ... When I heard racist comments, especially when I'm in a group of colleagues, I just wanted to run away," Lee wrote on his blog in 2022.


AP soccer:

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