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Nov 28, 2013

Paulao wants Betis fans punished

Real Betis defender Paulao has called for action to be taken against the fans who appeared to racially abuse him during the weekend’s 4-0 derby defeat at Sevilla.

After the centre-back picked up two quick bookings with the game at 1-0 just before half-time, television footage appeared to show a number of his own club’s supporters directing ‘monkey chants’ towards the player as he walked from the field.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on his Twitter account that he was “sickened” by the incident, while Betis issued a message condemning “any violent or racist behaviour,” but the Spanish authorities have yet to take action and the matter has received little coverage in local media.

The Brazilian told Superesportes that he was wary of making too big an issue of this case but hoped the right message would be sent out.

“It is good that this case has a big impact, so that measures are taken,” Paulao said. “We are all the same as each other. The colour of the skin does not change anything. The authorities should do what they have to do. I do not want to push too far as I am just one more foreigner in Spain. I believe that would not help too much. The images are there for everyone to see.”

The former Braga and Saint-Etienne defender, 31, said he had not been aware of any racist gestures at the time, but he and his family had been upset and disappointed when made aware of them.

“It was very ugly, something which left us very upset,” he said. “My family, in Brazil and here in Spain, was unhappy, and that is worrying. When I left the pitch, having been sent off, I was disappointed and did not see what was happening. Some friends told me afterwards.”

Sunday’s was not the first such incident involving Betis fans, with Nigerian midfielder Nosa Igiebor reacting angrily to taunts from the home support at the end of a 3-3 draw with Sevilla.

La Liga clubs whose supporters are found guilty of racist abuse can be fined up to 60,000 euros and have their ground closed for subsequent games, but such cases have rarely attracted significant attention.

Nonetheless, two Elche fans were singled out for punishment after directing racist abuse at Granada defender Allan-Romeo Nyom during a game on Oct. 26 after the player drew attention to the abuse he was receiving and referee Carlos Del Cerro stopped the game.

The official included details of the incident in his report and the two young Elche ‘ultras’ were reportedly to be fined four thousand euros each and banned from attending sports events for 12 months.

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