Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 January 2020

'Racism? Then we don't play football': Dutch players stand still on pitch in protest

Abuse of Excelsior forward sparks top two divisions to take action

Ahmad Mendes Moreira of Excelsior Rotterdam is led off the pitch after being the target of racist abuse during the match against FC Den Bosch. Getty
Ahmad Mendes Moreira of Excelsior Rotterdam is led off the pitch after being the target of racist abuse during the match against FC Den Bosch. Getty

Players in the top two divisions of Dutch football will stand still for the first minute of matches this weekend as a protest against racism.

An anti-racism message will be also displayed on scoreboards during the opening 60 seconds at Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie games. While players stand, the message 'Racism? Then we don't play football' will appear. An extra minute will be added to first half injury time.

The move comes after Excelsior forward Ahmad Mendes Moreira was racially abused by a section of FC Den Bosch supporters last weekend, with the game suspended for half an hour after the referee decided to take the players off the pitch.

The Dutch football association has said it would investigate the incident and look into possible sanctions against Den Bosch and its supporters.

The abuse of Moreira was condemned by many Dutch international footballers including Lyon forward Memphis Depay, while Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said the incident "really hit me on a personal level".

During the Netherlands' 5-0 over Estonia on Tuesday, Wijnaldum and team-mate Frenkie de Jong pointed to the colour of their skin after the Liverpool star scored the first of his three goals.

Den Bosch have apologised to Moreira for declaring the striker mistook "crow sounds" for racist abuse during the Dutch second division match.

A series of racist incidents has tainted European football recently.

Italian striker Mario Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch after receiving alleged racist abuse earlier this month while Shakhtar Donetsk forward Taison was shown a red card for reacting to racist jeers from the crowd during a match.

Updated: November 22, 2019 05:07 AM

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