Domestic results in Portugal’s top division this weekend opened up the prospect of an exciting and closely-fought title race until the end of the season. Unfortunately, none of the headlines will be about that. A disgraceful incident took place in the Vitória Guimarães versus FC Porto match that leaves an ugly stain on the beautiful game in the country.

Porto striker Moussa Marega, who scored what turned out to be the winning goal, was the subject of racist abuse from the home supporters and refused to play on. As he stormed off the pitch, his Porto teammates and coach Sérgio Conceição, as well as the Vitória players, tried to persuade him to change his mind. Marega was resolute in his decision, however, and ended up being substituted. Tom Kundert reports and brings ongoing reaction. 

It was shortly after Marega had scored on the hour mark that a section of the Vitória supporters subjected him to abuse, including monkey chants. The Malian centre-forward – who had a successful spell at Vitória Guimarães prior to his transfer to Porto – was so incensed by the insults that he stormed off the pitch, indicating to the Porto bench that he wanted to be substituted.

Teammates, oppositions players, and Porto coach Sérgio Conceição tried to get him to change his mind, but to no avail. Conceição meanwhile turned to the stands and angrily remonstrated with the supporters, shouting “You’re a fucking disgrace!” See the video of the incident below.

 

Marega was substituted by Manafá, the match continued and FC Porto held on for a 2-1 win. Porto boycotted the post-match press conference, but Conceição reacted strongly to what had happened in the flash interview:

“Excuse me from talking about the match itself. The game is pushed into the background. We are completely outraged about what happened. I know the passion there is here at Vitória for the club [Sérgio Conceição coached Vitória Guimarães in 2015/16], but most of the fans do not identify with the attitudes of some people here who were in the stands insulting Moussa since the warm-up. We are a family regardless of nationality, skin colour, height, hair colour… We are a family. We are human beings. We deserve respect. What happened here is deplorable! Deplorable!”

Porto posted messages on their official Twitter account showing their support to Marega.

  

 

And later in the evening Porto issued a brief press release, reading as follows:

“1. The entire FC Porto organisation and its fans fully support Moussa Marega, who was forced to take drastic action in the wake of repeated racist insults.

2. FC Porto repudiates and vehemently condemns the racist behaviour this afternoon, which comprises one of the lowest points in the recent history of Portuguese football and must be duly punished.

3. FC Porto shall remain on the front line in the fight against racism and hate crimes and its team wants to continue fighting against them on the pitch.”

As for the reaction from Vitória Guimarães, coach Ivo Vieira said he would not comment on the incident because he did not fully understand what had happened. Vitória president Miguel Pinto, however, while emphasising that his club condemns discriminatory behaviour, suggested Marega was at fault for provoking the fans.

“We are a club that believes in equality. Indeed there is a phrase at the entrance of the stadium alluding to this. If any of the Vitória fans behaved in a way that goes against this (tenet), due measures will be taken – we will look at the CCTV. However, it seems to us there was provocative behaviour that had the intention of inciting the crowd. This is not the first time this player has taken such an attitude. He was a player of Vitória Guimarães and also wanted to walk off the pitch during a match, and it had nothing to do with racism. The player in question has the profile he has...”

Marega himself took to Social Media to express his disgust in no uncertain terms on his Instagram account:

“I just want to say to these idiots who come to the stadium to shout racist chants… go fuck yourselves. I also thank the officials for not defending me and giving me a yellow card because I defend the colour of my skin. I hope I never meet you again on a football pitch. YOU ARE A DISGRACE!!!!!”

Other reactions  

Fernando Gomes, head of the Portuguese Football Federation:

“Racist behaviour is intolerable in an open and developed society. The perpetrators of racist insults should be identified and brought to justice. The Portuguese Football Federation repudiates racist behaviour, wherever it comes from and anywhere it takes place... The Portuguese Football Federation expresses its solidarity with the player Moussa Marega. While I am president of the FPF, I guarantee that I will continue to do my utmost so that supporters who do not respect football are definitively banned from stadiums. This is an urgent combat of society as a whole.”

The Portuguese Liga, the authority that oversees the domestic game in Portugal:

“The values of football are not compatible with what happened tonight in the stadium of Vitória Sport Clube in which a player could no longer bear the insults he was the target of and decided to abandon the match. These acts shame Football and human dignity… The Portuguese Liga will do everything so that this, and all incidents of racism, do not go unpunished, in the belief that this is a fight without colour and where everyone has a decisive role to play to eradicate this scourge.”

João Paulo Rebelo, Secretary of State for Youth and Sport:

“What happened tonight in the match between Vitória Sport Clube and FC Porto is absolutely intolerable and unacceptable. The insults directed at the player Marega shame all those who fight for an inclusive society. The values of sport have nothing to do with these racist, xenophobic and appalling attitudes. The Authority for Prevention and Combat against Violence in Sport is already working with the police and sports authorities to identify and severely punish those responsible for this sad episode …

“Finally, a word for Marega, an excellent professional, who I want to acknowledge as showing an attitude of great dignity and which helps everyone who loves sport come together in the fight against intolerance, racism and violence in sport.”

Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa:

Translation: 

All and any acts of racism are a crime and intolerable. No human being should be subject to this humiliation. Nobody can be indifferent. I condemn all acts of racism, in whatever circumstances.

Total solidarity with #Marega, who on the pitch proved he is not only a great player, but also a great citizen. #notoracism


Several clubs and players, both in Portugal and abroad, also took to social media to show their support with Marega and express their repudiation of racism. 

 

 


The Portuguese press on Monday morning:

 

Jornal de Notícias: MAREGA – GOALS HAVE NO COLOUR

A Bola: WE ARE MAREGA

Record: MAREGA 5-0 RACISM

O Jogo: CRIME

 

Comments (19)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Always sad when you see people place a sport and club allegiance above human dignity and respect. I love football, I cheer form my team, I even revel in playing hero and villain with certain personalities (I never could stand Pep Guardiola).

But...

Always sad when you see people place a sport and club allegiance above human dignity and respect. I love football, I cheer form my team, I even revel in playing hero and villain with certain personalities (I never could stand Pep Guardiola).

But when people have the lack of love, respect and compassion for others, that they resort to racism, it is a blemish to all fans. This is not acceptable and I hope the scumbags that did this are banned for life from attending games.

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Chris
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I'm absolutely disgusted by this. It's very shameful behavior. I would've preferred if all the players from both teams walked off. These fans are so stupid. Don't they realize when you're being racist towards an opposing player, you're also being...

I'm absolutely disgusted by this. It's very shameful behavior. I would've preferred if all the players from both teams walked off. These fans are so stupid. Don't they realize when you're being racist towards an opposing player, you're also being racist towards your own black players as well? From now on it would be great to see them all walk off in solidarity. Ban those fans who did it and hopefully over time this will stop.

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Mike
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Absolutely shameful scenes in Guimaraes. So disappointing to see that in Portugal, generally one of the least racist cultures and certainly one of the most mixed up cultures in Europe. But last night showed that even in Portugal these ignorant...

Absolutely shameful scenes in Guimaraes. So disappointing to see that in Portugal, generally one of the least racist cultures and certainly one of the most mixed up cultures in Europe. But last night showed that even in Portugal these ignorant idiots are still present.

Good on Marega for walking off the pitch, the rest of his team should have followed suit. There must be a clear message of zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in football, and when incidents like this happen both teams should walk off the pitch and abandon the match. Also all stadiums should have cameras pointed onto the stands to pinpoint these people, and should impose life bans from the stadium for anyone making racist chants.

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Andre/UK
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What took place in Guimaraes last night was absolutely disgraceful. Sports can unfortunately bring out the worst in people, especially when emotions are high. Otherwise rational human beings can become violently tribalistic - over a game.

That...

What took place in Guimaraes last night was absolutely disgraceful. Sports can unfortunately bring out the worst in people, especially when emotions are high. Otherwise rational human beings can become violently tribalistic - over a game.

That being said, there is no excuse for what took place last night. Racist abuse has no place in football. This is the 21st century, but unfortunately these ignorant idiots continue to spew hatred.

The fans who made the racist insults should be banned for life, and Victoria Guimaraes should be forced to play AT LEAST one home game behind closed doors.

Both sets of players should have joined Marega into the locker room and the referee should have called off the game to be completed at a later date. What happens last night, however, was a farce and an embarrassment to Portuguese football.

This shameful behavior has reared it's ugly head far too many times over the years in each and every corner of Europe, but nothing is really ever done to effectively stamp it out of the game.

Marega deserves a great deal of praise for having the courage to step off the field in protest. No player should have to endure what he went through.

Let's hope that this latest incident will finally wake our league into taking racist abuse seriously.

Força Marega!

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jon/usa
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I wonder how those fans felt about Eder scoring the winning goal in the Euro final?

Mmaaxx
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Simply shameful. I find it even more insulting that Miguel Pinto would even try shift any of the blame towards the victim. I must say i have always had a soft spot for Vitória Guimarães but I feel that has been squashed now.

I agree with many...

Simply shameful. I find it even more insulting that Miguel Pinto would even try shift any of the blame towards the victim. I must say i have always had a soft spot for Vitória Guimarães but I feel that has been squashed now.

I agree with many of the comments above, the teams should have walked off the park in disgust. Surely Marega will have his yellow card rescinded. Ideally, for me, in these situations the referee should take matters into his own hands and end the game. They probably do not have the power to do this but they would be a hero if they took this action.

simply disgusting and disappointing as always to see this in 2020.

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Pola33
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PS could anyone please explain the cover of "the record" have they photo-shopped a chair above his head? Am i missing something?

Pola33
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi Pola, that's a seat from the stands that was thrown onto the pitch towards Marega.

Tom Kundert
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

wow that is insane.

Pola33
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I think the referee was right to show Marega the yellow card after he "defended" his color, thus provoking the fans. What the fans did was wrong but Marega's celebration was also racist.

Samuel
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You're right. Being abused for the colour of his skin for the 2nd half before he scored, then after he scored, not to mention almost getting hit in the head with a chair is all Marega's own fault.

We haven't seen you posting here very often. Is...

You're right. Being abused for the colour of his skin for the 2nd half before he scored, then after he scored, not to mention almost getting hit in the head with a chair is all Marega's own fault.

We haven't seen you posting here very often. Is that because you've been busy wearing white table cloths and creating some cozy campfires via cross-burning?

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Chris
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in what way was his celebration racist? It isn't even provocative!

Pola33
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It's provocative for racist, small minded clowns like Samuel who likely excuse any racist attitudes towards black people but become indignant at any hint of offense directed at someone his own skin colour.

You can't reason with stupid.

Chris
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Haha, you're right Chris if you see a black dude wearing a white table cloth thats me. Not many of us so don't forget to say hi.
But we don't need your pity. A black man can be racist and people closing their eyes to it its just sad.

Samuel
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You are Ron Stallworth? But it says your name is Samuel?

Anyone can be racist this is true, but I must say I do not see how Marega is in this situation?

Pola33
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

How convenient that you can now claim to be the very ethnicity that you are so easily dismissing. It's a step above the "I have a black friend, so I'm not racist" argument.

The problem is no one is falling for it. Regardless of whatever skin...

How convenient that you can now claim to be the very ethnicity that you are so easily dismissing. It's a step above the "I have a black friend, so I'm not racist" argument.

The problem is no one is falling for it. Regardless of whatever skin colour you have, your lack of empathy and frankly ignorance speak volumes about the type of person you are.

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Chris
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So obviously this terrible stuff happens in the UK and probably everywhere but look at this from the BBC, what a response from the manager / staff of this team in the English 5th tier. It is great to see a coach acknowledging his club failure...

So obviously this terrible stuff happens in the UK and probably everywhere but look at this from the BBC, what a response from the manager / staff of this team in the English 5th tier. It is great to see a coach acknowledging his club failure rather than trying to pass the blame to the victims.

Your text to link

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Pola33
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Chris, I am sure the only one stupid and closed minded here is you and on top of that ignorant. In case you didn't notice the words you use are used wrong so please do consult a dictionary before writing anything. Also insulting the person...

Chris, I am sure the only one stupid and closed minded here is you and on top of that ignorant. In case you didn't notice the words you use are used wrong so please do consult a dictionary before writing anything. Also insulting the person instead of bringing up sound arguments don't hide your lack of ability to express yourself in the right manner. Anyway, its been fun talking to you.

Have a good day! (or in words you can actually understand - Piss off!)

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Samuel
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Before calling someone else ignorant or accusing them of an inability to read or comprehend, perhaps you should first have a grasp of what a "reply" button is and how to use it rather than just posting your nonsense gibberish randomly again.

Sec...

Before calling someone else ignorant or accusing them of an inability to read or comprehend, perhaps you should first have a grasp of what a "reply" button is and how to use it rather than just posting your nonsense gibberish randomly again.

Secondly, there is no sound argument to be brought up against someone who
A) blames the victim when something stupid happens
B) justifies racial abuse because a player supposedly "triggered fans first", by the way, you keep going on about it, so why don't you tell all of us precisely what Marega did that was so bad that warrants him being treated horribly? Tell us, please because so far you refuse to get specific.
C) claims to be that race just to try and squirm out of a losing argument.

I'll wait for your educated breakdown of all the "triggering" antics that Marega displayed, because I'm sure your explanation will be 100% factual and not at all hyperbolic.

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Chris
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