CONMEBOL vows to toughen anti-racism stance after increase in incidents

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) fined River Plate $30,000 on Friday after one of the Argentine club’s fans was caught on camera throwing bananas at fans of Brazilian club Fortaleza in a Copa Libertadores game.

CONMEBOL said they would “increase and tighten” sanctions following a series of racist incidents highlighted by Brazilian clubs.

River Plate condemned the April 14 incident and media reports said the club had suspended the fan for 180 days.

Earlier this week, an Argentinian fan was arrested by Sao Paulo police at the Corinthians-Boca Juniors game after he was filmed making monkey gestures. Other racist incidents have been reported at Brazilian club matches in Chile and Ecuador.

“Racist language or any other form of violence is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE,” CONMEBOL said in a statement, adding that new anti-racism programs would be introduced at various levels of the game.

“CONMEBOL will change its regulations to increase and toughen penalties in case of racism.”

What the changes would entail was not specified.

The statement came after the CBF president spoke to his CONMEBOL counterpart about the recurring incidents in the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League.

“These instances of racism, particularly at the Libertadores’ recent games, have caused concern and much outrage and sadness at CBF,” Rodrigues said in a video posted online.

He called for an “international crusade” against discrimination and racism, inviting clubs, law enforcement, the media and the judiciary to meet with FIFA and the CBF in June to discuss what form it might take.

The meeting will also discuss in-game violence, a possible reference to a series of high-profile attacks and threats against players in Brazil.

In recent months in Brazil, at least two team coaches have been attacked with stones or explosive devices, and players from two top teams, Corinthians and Internacional, have been threatened via social media channels.

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