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Dutch prosecutors to investigate racial abuse at soccer match

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By Reuters

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch prosecutors on Monday said they had opened an investigation into possible racist abuse which led to the rare suspension of a soccer match in the Netherlands’ second division a day earlier.

The FC Den Bosch-Excelsior Rotterdam game was suspended after half an hour on Sunday. The referee decided to take the players off the pitch after Excelsior forward Ahmad Mendes Moreira was verbally abused by a section of the home side fans.

He said he was called a “negro and cotton-picker” by fans from the beginning of the game.

“I’m just very angry and very sad that these things still happen.”

Prosecutors said they would study camera footage and would work with local police to establish what exactly had happened during the match and who was involved.

Play resumed after 10 minutes, but afterwards the Dutch football association KNVB said it would investigate the incident and look into possible sanctions against Den Bosch and its supporters.

“Together with the club, we will do everything to track down who did this”, the KNVB’s league director Jan Bluyssen said.

The KNVB can issue stadium bans for supporters and can impose sanctions on clubs if they are found to not have done enough to prevent racist abuse.

The incident is the latest in a series of racist incidents in European football.

Earlier this month Italian striker Mario Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch after receiving alleged racist abuse, while in Ukraine Shakhtar Donetsk forward Taison was shown a red card after he reacted to racist jeers from the crowd during a match.

Last month, a match between England and Bulgaria was marred by a section of the home supporters taunting the English players with Nazi salutes and monkey chants.

(Reporting by Bart Meijerl; Editing by Mike Collett-White)