Manchester City representatives are liaising with Croatian officials after the Blues’ Under-21 side walked off in protest after a player was allegedly racially abused.
Patrick Vieira called his team off the field after 19-year-old Seko Fofana suffered alleged racial abuse against HNK Rijeka in a friendly last night.
The youngster was sent off after an off-the-ball incident which is believed to have been due to racist remarks before Vieira entered the pitch and ordered his team off.
A statement from City read: “Manchester City’s EDS U21 game with HNK Rijeka has today been cancelled due to an alleged incident of racial abuse toward the Club’s young midfielder, Seko Fofana by a member of the opposing team.
“Following an alleged incident in the latter stages of the first half of the game, being played in Novigrad, Croatia, a decision was taken by the management staff to withdraw the City team from the field of play and cancel the game.”
Manchester City’s EDS U21 game with HNK Rijeka has today been cancelled due to an alleged incident of racial abuse… (1/6)
— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) July 22, 2014
City officials are now working with the match organisers and the Croatian Football Association to pursue the matter further.
After the incident Rijeka also issued a statement which read: “Manchester City coach Patrick Vieira entered the field, something was discussed with the referee, and then to the amazement of a well-filled stadium he took his team off the pitch.
“What are the reasons? They are known only to him.”
There have been very few incidents of teams walking off over racism in the past, with AC Milan’s friendly at Italian lower division club Pro Patria in January 2013 the highest profile occurrence.
Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng sparked the walk-off – and the end of the game – by picking up the match ball and kicking it into the crowd following racially abusive chants from the crowd.
Defender Danny Rose also suffered racist remarks in an Under-21 game against Serbia in 2012.
Last year City midfielder Yaya Toure called for stronger action against racism after he was subject to chanting from CSKA Moscow fans.
Fans took to social media to praise the decision to call-off the game in the fight against racism.
— Linda Smyth (@Lindasmythmcfc) July 23, 2014
I will say this only once. Well done Man City under 21 team. Well done.
— Adam Creme (@Adam_Creme) July 23, 2014
Patrick Vieira takes #MCFC under 21’s from pitch in Croatia for alleged racism against a player. Firm action, easier in friendlies.
— CICI Equality (@CICIEquality) July 23, 2014
Image courtesy of MCFC, via Youtube, with thanks