Sat, Jan 09, 2016 - Page 19 News List

Spanish soccer league reports Espanyol over ‘monkey chants’ aimed at Neymar

AFP, MADRID

Barcelona’s Neymar celebrates after scoring a goal in their Copa del Rey match against RCD Espanyol in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

The Spanish soccer league (LFP) on Thursday announced it had reported RCD Espanyol to the country’s anti-violence commission for racist chanting aimed at Barcelona star Neymar during the sides’ 0-0 draw on Saturday last week.

According to the report, monkey chants were aimed at Neymar after he had been flagged offside in the 14th minute.

The anti-violence commission is to decide if any action is to be taken against Espanyol, with possible sanctions ranging from a fine to part or full closure of their Estadi Cornella-El Prat.

“I haven’t listened to the chants, I don’t listen to things off the field, I just play football,” Neymar said on Monday.

Former Barca presidential candidate Toni Freixa was on Saturday first to condemn the chanting when he posted on his official Twitter account: “I hope the racist chanting towards Neymar is reflected in the referee’s report.”

Yet, there was no mention of it in Jose Luis Gonzalez’s report and Barca boss Luis Enrique refused to comment on the incident afterward.

Espanyol president Joan Collet claimed the chants recorded were not monkey noises, but chants used most often in recent months by opposition fans to mock Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s over-effusive celebration at winning last year’s Ballon d’Or.

“These chants of ‘uh, uh, uh’ I hear every Sunday, above all with Cristiano, and they are not interpreted in any way as monkey chanting,” he told the Barcelona daily Sport.

“If it was like that, we would go for those that have to be sanctioned, but it would need to be shown that it was monkey chanting and it wasn’t,” he added.

The claims are just the latest fallout from two bad-tempered derbies between the sides in the past five days.

Espanyol had two men sent off as Barca gained revenge for dropping points over the weekend with a 4-1 win in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie on Wednesday.

However, Barcelona’s Luis Suarez could be handed up to a three-game ban after he was cited in the referee’s report for aggressively confronting Espanyol players in the tunnel after Wednesday’s match.

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