Discrimination triggers discussion of racism in Portugal


18th February, 2020 11:58:48 printer

Discrimination triggers discussion of racism in Portugal

Portuguese Primeira Liga club FC Porto's striker Moussa Marega's reaction to racist insults on Sunday is breaking the ice on racism in football and the Portuguese society.

On Sunday, after scoring the winning match goal in Porto, FC Porto's striker Moussa Marega, originally from Mali, abandoned the field 20 minutes before the ending match against Vitoria SC, the club from Guimaraes, a city 340km north Lisbon, after racist insults coming from the supporters. FC Porto beat Vitoria SC 2-1 getting closer to its Lisbon's rivals Benfica in the championship race to the title.

Marega got fed up with the insults and left the field against everyone's will, including his teammates. The referee even gave him a yellow card which made Marega's reaction stronger by calling the referee "a disgrace".

The gesture from the Mali international player was the first-ever taking place in Portuguese stadiums and raised empathy from the Portuguese society and international football community in the fight against racism.

The German football club, Borussia Dortmund, was one of the first clubs demonstrating sympathy for Marega's action.

"We strongly support and stand with Porto's Moussa Marega, who was subjected to racial chants today. Again and again, enough is enough!" said the club on its Twitter account.

Vasco da Gama from Brazil and Sporting Lisbon, from Portugal, directed their support to the player. FC Porto's coach Serigo Conceicao after the match on Sunday condemned the incident, calling it a "deplorable episode".

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa condemned the racist insults incident targeting Moussa Marega recalling the Portuguese constitution.

"The constitution is very clear in condemning racism, as well as other forms of xenophobia and discrimination, and the Portuguese people know, even from historical experience, that the path of racism, xenophobia and discrimination, besides representing the violation of human dignity and fundamental rights, is a dramatic path in terms of culture, civilization and social peace," the president said in a statement quoted by Lusa News Agency.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa also reacted to the incidents, saying that "all and any acts of racism a crime and intolerable."

"No human being should be subjected to this humiliation. No one can remain indifferent. I condemn any, and all, acts of racism, under any circumstances," Antonio Costa wrote on his Twitter account.

Most Portuguese political parties condemned the incident.