Another referee halts football match over racist abuse

The incident came during the first half of a game between MyPa and AC Kajaani.

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Mypa players in action against Kajaani, Saturday 11th May 2019 / Credit: @mypajuniorit_official Instagram

Another Finnish referee has had to halt a football game after hearing racist chants from the sidelines.

Referee Dennis Antamo was in charge of an Ykkönen division 1 game between MyPa and AC Kajaani on Saturday when he heard calls of “perkele neekeri” from spectators at an area where beer was being sold, during the first half.

There are a number of minority-background players in the Kajaani side.

“I talked with the staff at the technical area of the home and away teams, and they started an announcement. And I talked to both the captains and then we re-started the match maybe one or two minutes pause in total” Antamo tells News Now Finland.

On Saturday evening, MyPa released a statement on their website condemning the incident.

“There was a terrible racist incident in today’s game which forced the referee to pause for a moment. MYPA wants to say that we do not accept any racist abuse. Everyone is welcome to the stadium regardless of ethnic background, colour, mother tongue, religion or sexual orientation” says the statement.

“All of the racist shouts are dealt with immediately and those shouting are removed from the grounds” the statement concludes.

Referee Dennis Antamo says these cases are still rare in Finnish football.

“I have been refereeing over 200 games at the top league and first division and this is the first time I heard anything like this. So is it getting more common? Hard to say. But unfortunately we have had these three cases in the last two seasons” says the 37-year old referee.

Previous cases of racist shouts

Back in April, referee Mohammad Al-Emara halted a match, and warned that the game would be suspended, after hearing racist chants at another division 1 game.

Under FIFA’s rules, there’s a three-step protocol that referees can use to tackle racism from supporters. They can first pause the match and request a public announcement to insist that racist behaviour cease. If this has no effect, the referee can then suspend play; but if the racism continues the referee can abandon the match completely.

During the 2018 season, Al-Emara became the first Finnish referee to halt a game using the FIFA guidelines, after hearing racist chants.

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