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Uruguay players clash with Colombia fans after Copa America defeat



Uruguay players clashed with Colombia fans following their Copa America semi-final defeat on Wednesday before security personnel stepped in to restore order.

After Colombia sealed a 1-0 victory in Charlotte, North Carolina, videos on social media showed what appeared to be Uruguay players climbing into the stands and exchanging blows with opposition fans.

South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL said it is investigating the incident and that it strongly condemns any acts of violence that affect football.

“Our work is based on the conviction that soccer connects and unites us through its positive values,” CONMEBOL said.

“There is no place for intolerance and violence on and off the field.”


Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez and Ronald Araujo were among the players at the forefront of the melee. Captain Jose Maria Gimenez said the players were trying to defend their families.

“Let me say something before they cut you off because they won’t let us speak into the microphone, they don’t want me to say anything about what’s going on but this is a disaster,” Gimenez said on the official broadcast.

“Please be careful, our families are in the stands, there are little newborn babies. It was a disaster; there was no police and we had to defend our families.

“This is the fault of two or three people who had a few too many drinks and don’t know how to drink.”

Players and staff from both Colombia and Uruguay were also involved in a confrontation on the field after the final whistle.


“I thought that the incident ended with some argument on the midfield and when I saw that happening I went to the locker room,” Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa said in a press conference.

“I thought that they were thanking the fans for their support. But then I learned that there were some problems over there unfortunately.”

Jefferson Lerma’s first-half header gave Colombia a place in Sunday’s final while Uruguay will play Canada in the third-place playoff.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Olympic Games’ coach, Javier Mascherano says Argentina racist chants video ‘taken out of context’



Enzo Fernandez has apologised for his video on social media. PHOTO: AFP

Javier Mascherano, the coach of Argentina’s Olympic football squad, said on July 17 that a video showing racist chants by national team players after they won the Copa America was “taken out of context”.

“Argentines, if there’s one thing we’re not, it’s racists, far from that,” he said at Argentina’s pre-Olympic training base in north-western France.

The chants were heard during a live video posted on social media by Chelsea and Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez from the team bus, in the wake of the Copa victory over Colombia in Miami on July 14.

“I know Enzo, he’s a great guy. He doesn’t have any problems like that,” insisted Mascherano.

“Often, as part of a celebration, you can take part of a video and take it out of context.


“If there’s one thing we are as a country, it’s a totally inclusive country. People from all over the world live in Argentina and we treat them as they should be treated.”

Fifa said earlier on July 17 it was opening an investigation into the chant, which dates back to the 2022 World Cup final after Argentina beat France.

“Fifa strongly condemns any form of discrimination by anyone including players, fans and officials,” said a spokesman for world football’s governing body.

The song targets France’s star striker Kylian Mbappe – who has African roots – and includes homophobic insults.

Chelsea have on their part launched an internal disciplinary procedure against Fernandez over the incident.


Mascherano also spoke of a “cultural” misunderstanding.

“Sometimes you have to understand the culture of each country, and sometimes what we perceive as a joke can be misinterpreted elsewhere,” he said.

“Enzo also made it known on social media that he apologised. Sometimes people try to make things much bigger than they are.”

Racism is a serious issue in football and in a separate incident, a Spanish court has on July 17 handed down an eight-month suspended jail term to a person for online racist abuse targeting Real Madrid’s black players Vinicius Junior and Antonio Rudiger.

Real said the individual “acting under various pseudonyms on the digital forum of the Marca newspaper, directed serious racist attacks and insults against our players”.


“The court ordered the accused to serve eight months in prison and not to participate in the above-mentioned forum for 20 months,” the club said.

The accused was found guilty of two offences against Brazilian Vinicius and Rudiger, both aggravated by the fact that they acted with racist motives and, in the case of the German defender, also in contempt of his religion.

The suspended prison sentence was made conditional on the defendant’s participation in a non-discrimination programme.

Real also pointed out that it was the second criminal conviction for racist insults against their players.

On June 10, three Valencia fans were sentenced to eight months for racist insults targeting Vinicius in May 2023.



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Chelsea opens disciplinary process on Fernandez over alleged racist chant



Enzo Fernandez joined Chelsea from Benfica for £107m in 2023

Chelsea have begun disciplinary proceedings against midfielder Enzo Fernandez after he posted a video on social media that the French Football Federation said included an alleged “racist and discriminatory” chant.

On Tuesday the FFF said it would file a complaint to world governing body Fifa over the video featuring a song sung by some of the Argentina squad about France’s black players.

Fernandez’s Chelsea team-mate Wesley Fofana, who has one cap for France, posted an image of the video on Instagram, describing it as “uninhibited racism”.

Fernandez – a £107m British record signing in February 2023 – said he is “truly sorry” for the video he posted as Argentina celebrated winning the Copa America.

Fifa is also investigating the video, in which several members of the Argentina squad take part in a song originally sung by Argentina fans questioning the heritage of France’s black and mixed race players.


Chelsea have seven France players who are black or mixed race in their first-team squad – Fofana, Axel Disasi, Benoit Badiashile, Lesley Ugochukwu, Christopher Nkunku, Malo Gusto and Malang Sarr.

“The song includes highly offensive language and there is absolutely no excuse for these words,” said Fernandez.

“I stand against discrimination in all forms and apologise for getting caught up in the euphoria of our Copa America celebrations.

“That video, that moments, those words, do not reflect my beliefs or my character.”

A Chelsea statement read: “We acknowledge and appreciate our player’s public apology and will use this as an opportunity to educate.


“The club has instigated an internal disciplinary procedure.”

The FFF will contact the Argentine Football Association (AFA) about the live video posted on social media by Fernandez after Argentina beat Colombia 1-0 in the Copa America final on Sunday.

A statement from the FFF, external said president Philippe Diallo “condemns in the strongest terms the unacceptable and discriminatory remarks that were made against the players of the French team”.

It added: “Faced with the seriousness of these shocking remarks, contrary to the values of sport and human rights, the president of the FFF decided to directly appeal to his Argentine counterpart and Fifa and to file a legal complaint for racially offensive and discriminatory remarks.”

The Argentine FA has been approached for comment.


France beat Argentina in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup, and Argentina beat France in the final of the 2022 World Cup.

A Fifa spokesperson said they were “aware of a video circulating on social media” and “the incident is being looked into”.

They added: “Fifa strongly condemns any form of discrimination by anyone including players, fans and officials.”

Chelsea said they find “all forms of discriminatory behaviour completely unacceptable”.

They added: “We are proud to be a diverse, inclusive club where people from all cultures, communities and identities feel welcome.”


‘These acts have no place in football’

Fernandez’s Chelsea team-mate David Datro Fofana urged action by everyone in football in the “fight” against racism.

“The football that I like is multi-ethnic,” posted the Ivorian forward on Instagram.

“Racism in all its forms should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. These acts have no place in football or even anywhere else.

“This fight really needs to be taken seriously be everyone in this sport.”


Fofana is currently training with Chelsea after his loan spell with Burnley last season, while fellow Blues striker Nicolas Jackson has also published a post on Instagram in support of Fernandez.

Jackson’s post showed the Argentina midfielder playing with a young black child during the club’s pre-season US tour last year.

Former Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano, who is the coach of the nation’s Olympic football team, said the video was “taken out of context” and his country is “totally inclusive”. The 40-year-old, whose side will play at this summer’s Games in Paris, also said Fernandez is a “great guy”.

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out, meanwhile, said the video is “unacceptable”.

“We stand with and show our full support to Wesley Fofana after he responded publicly and brought it to wider attention,” it added.


“Several players are seen singing the song, which means there will be a wider impact on team-mates and fans at other clubs.

“We call upon all relevant clubs, the Argentina federation and Fifa to address this concerning issue with empathy, sensitivity and understanding.

“Responses to these incidents cannot start and end with an apology. More important is the action taken afterwards to ensure players are educated and held accountable, both in England and on a global scale.”

Those comments were echoed by fellow anti-discrimination organisation Show Racism the Red Card, which said “words are not enough”.

“The racism by the Argentina players is abhorrent, disgraceful and, to record it on social media, it’s unbelievable to think it was amusing or even they would get away with it,” said chief executive Ged Grebby.


“It’s good they haven’t but we want to see action taken, rather than players saying just they are sorry. That’s not good enough.

“The damage has been done. Not just to black players in the Premier League but black players in our society.

“Words are not enough and if Chelsea are serious about anti-racism education we urge them to contact Show Racism the Red Card and get this player to come and work with us in schools.

“It would make a huge impact. Rather than banning this player for whatever number of games, let’s get him involved in an anti-racism programme, a positive programme, with Show Racism the Red Card.”



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Argentina to be investigated by FIFA for racist chants against players of African descent



Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates with the trophy after the team's victory during the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 Final. GETTY IMAGES.

Some of the Albiceleste players have been caught in the eye of the storm after the frenzy of winning their second consecutive Copa America. Enzo Fernández, who posted the controversial video on Instagram, has also sparked a serious revolt at his club, Chelsea.

The so-called “triple crown” arrived in Argentina last weekend. After defeating Colombia and being crowned champion of the 2024 Copa América, they completed a spectacular three-year run, having won the same continental tournament in 2021 and, of course, the World Cup in 2022.

However, it wasn’t until extra time that Nerazurri forward Lautaro Martínez sent the ball into the back of the net at the Hard Rock Stadium. He secured his position as the top scorer with five goals, delivering Argentina their sixteenth South American title.

But the celebrations got out of hand, especially among the younger members of the Argentine squad. Since Monday, a viral video has been circulating on social media, showing Argentine players, with midfielder Enzo prominently featured, singing.

This wouldn’t typically be an issue, except that during their Copa América victory celebration on the bus, the song they started singing was a chant with racist terms against the ‘Bleus’.

Many might wonder why they were chanting about France when their opponent in the Copa América was Colombia. The chant became popular among Argentine fans during the World Cup Final in December 2022, when Argentina faced France. The song contains highly discriminatory lyrics against people of African descent in France:

“Listen up, spread the word, they play in France, but they’re all from Angola.
How lovely it is, they’ll run, they’re trans-eaters like that faggot, Mbappé.
His mother is Nigerian, and his father is Cameroonian,
But on his ID, nationality: French.”

Following this controversial episode, criticism quickly emerged against the Argentine team. “Pathetic. These behaviors are unacceptable,” wrote French Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra on her X account. “FIFA: any reaction?” she concluded sarcastically.

She was not alone. Wesley Fofana, Malo Gusto, and Axel Disasi, teammates of Enzo Fernández at Chelsea, who posted the controversial video, harshly criticized the 23-year-old midfielder.


The trio of French defenders, with African roots, commented that it is “unacceptable” for incidents like this to happen in 2024. They unfollowed Enzo on social media, and a chaotic meeting is expected after the holidays, once the new 2024–2025 season starts at Stamford Bridge.

Aware of his mistake, the San Martín native apologized through his personal profile. “I want to apologize for the celebrations, those words do not reflect who I am.” Chelsea, while appreciating the gesture from their star midfielder, stated that they have “initiated an internal disciplinary procedure,” according to the club’s statement.

Now, it remains to be seen how the situation will progress. The French Football Federation (FFF) filed a complaint for racist statements on social media, as did SOS Racism. Later, FIFA and other organizations announced the “opening of an investigation,” which could possibly result in severe consequences for the recent Copa América champions. FIFA will definitely have its work cut out for it after the security problems and the conflict between Colombia and Uruguay that ended in a massive brawl.


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