CONMEBOL opens investigation after racist slogans in Argentina

South American soccer’s governing body CONMEBOL on Wednesday launched an investigation into an alleged racist chant against Colombia international Hugo Rodallega by Gimnasia y Esgrima fans at the Copa Sudamericana.

Following the Argentine team’s 1-0 win over Colombian Independiente de Santa Fe on Tuesday, Rodleaga claimed some Gimnasia fans had called him a “monkey” and “black”.

“Conmebol is against all forms of discrimination and has also increased fines to combat racism in football,” a source in the governing body told AFP.

The source said those responsible for the body’s disciplinary committee have opened a file on the matter.

Rodalega’s claim comes days after Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior was subjected to similar racist slurs during a weekend match in Valencia, Spain.

Spanish police arrested seven people on Tuesday accused of racial abuse, while Spanish football authorities ordered a stand at Valencia’s stadium to be closed for five matches.

“It’s sad that we come here (Argentina) and this happens. I’m not saying we lost because of people (shouting with expletives) but this racism makes you tired.”

“They call you monkey, call you black, there is a lack of respect,” the 37-year-old, who once played for Fulham, said.

Gimnasia issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the abuse and said they too had launched an investigation.

“As an institution we deny any specific and individual action taken against the player,” said Pablo Arion, Gimnasia’s vice-president.

“It doesn’t just happen in Europe,” said Arriane, who said the club has begun efforts to identify those responsible for the abuse.

“Football still has a lot to learn.”

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CONMEBOL statutes allow the body to fine or suspend players, officials or clubs if found guilty of discriminatory language.

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