Turkey’s Trabzonspor midfielder and ex Chelsea star Obi Mikel could not hold back the tears during a pre-game interview when he revealed the racial abuse he suffered at the hands of Fenerbahce fans.
The T24 news portal on Tuesday quoted Mikel as saying that the abuse had taken place on and off the pitch.
Mikel, who was speaking ahead of the clash against Erzurumspor said he received many racist messages from Fenerbahce fans on Twitter following the game and filed a criminal complaint with prosecution office, Birgun news reported.
“It was a derby game. Both sides were willing to win. We won the game and tension was sparked due to disappointment on their side after losing the game. Nothing happened afterward between the players. But I am really sad because of reactions on social media. There is no place for racism in football”, T24 news quoted Mikel as saying.
He also detailed the content of racist messages he received on social media from Fenerbahce fans as saying: “Some nasty words were used against me and my kids, and my girlfriend. It is unacceptable of saying those things to my 4-years-old daughters, it is quite wrong. Those people shouldn’t be allowed into the games. ”
Fenerbahçeliler tarafından ırkçı saldırıya uğrayan Obi Mikel, Erzurumspor maçı öncesi açıklama yaparken gözyaşlarını tutamadı. pic.twitter.com/QD10FxNZIO
— Club Regista (@ClubRegista) February 4, 2020
Trabzonspor and Fenerbahce faced off on Saturday in a game on which both teams saw as critical in the title race.
Trabzonspor was victorious 2-1 in what was a tight contest and overtook Fenerbahce to move into the third spot.
A brawl broke out between the two teams’ players with the final whistle and Fenerbahce’s captain was seen exchanging some words with Obi Mikel.
Trabzonspor’s president Ahmet Ağaoğlu made some remarks on Fenerbahce’s game and the racial attack against Mikel in a press conference on Wednesday.
The Daily Sabah newspaper quoted him as saying: “Racism is a shame for humanity. It is a shame for our country. I have spoken with Mikel and he said nothing happened in the field and Emre (Belezoğlu) did not spell any racist words against him. However, some smear attacks have been started by a group of fans on social media against him and his family. Our club has spotted people involved in this racial abuse online and applied for a judicial investigation into those people.”
Fenerbahce’s captain and former New Castle player Emre Belezoglu made headlines in 2012 with accusations of racist slurs in the field and was sentenced to two years in prison, Hürriyet daily reported.
Although Turkish football is generally not associated with racist incidents against black players, there has been an increasing number of reports of racist incidents.
Football teams and players from Turkey’s Kurdish-majority eastern provinces have in particular complained about such incidents.
Last Saturday, third division Cizrespor from the Kurdish-majority town of Cizre announced its withdrawal from the league, citing ongoing bias and discrimination.