Fiji Football Association (FFA) president Rajesh Patel reiterated a warning to local players that the association has no tolerance for racism after Lautoka player Samuela Drudru was fined NZ$7500 (FJ$10,869.94).
The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), which slapped Drudru with the fine for his racial comments, also suspended him for seven matches at all levels. He is also banned from entering the confines of the stadiums for those seven matches.
Patel said it is a sad day for Fijian football to be reminded about using racial comments. He said this needs to be stopped, especially when playing international tournaments such as in the OFC Champions League.
Drudru admitted last week that he mentioned ‘white people’ to officials on April 22 at Churchill Park, Lautoka. The FFA intends to closely monitor things to ensure this kind of incident is not repeated in the future. Patel said there has been racist remarks used and even attacks on the officials in domestic competition.
“At the end of the day it is sad, but the players have to understand, whether it is in the heat of the moment or not, they have to be disciplined and be good sportsmen,” he said.
“The players have to know and understand as well, not to give racial comments. According to OFC on Friday, the Lautoka Football Club and Drudru were notified of the sanctions imposed by the OFC Disciplinary Committee.
On the April 22 following the OFC Champions League first leg semifinal between Lautoka FC and Marist FC in Lautoka, the referee reported the incident which took place after the player received a red card for a second caution, in which he displayed discriminatory behaviour directed at a match official.
Following the opening of disciplinary proceedings, the OFC Disciplinary Committee analysed all documentation at its disposal. As a result, the OFC Disciplinary Committee found the player Samuela Drudru in breach of Article 56 (1) of the OFC Disciplinary Code.
Article 56 Racism
- Anyone who publicly disparages, discriminates against or denigrates someone in a defamatory manner on account of race, colour, language, religion or ethnic origin will be subject to match suspension for at least five (5) matches at every level. The body will impose a ban on his entering the confines of any stadia and a fine of at least NZ$5,000 (FJ$7246.63). If the perpetrator is an official, the fine will be at least NZ$10,000 (FJ$14,493.26). In accordance with Article 127 of the OFC Disciplinary Code, an appeal could be lodged to the OFC Appeals Committee against this decision. on June 9-10.
by Waisea Nasokia, Editor of Fiji Sun News West Branch