i on europe


Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

Belgian soccer tackles insults step by step


BRUSSELS (AP)—The referee heard the insulting chants toward French-speaking Walloons cascading from the stands, and he had enough.

The Belgian league soccer game pitted Racing Genk of Dutch-speaking Flanders against Standard Liege, the biggest club in Wallonia. The Flemish fans started hurling scatological insults in French at rival fans, prompting referee Jerome N’Zolo to stop the game.

Eiji Kawashima

A few weeks earlier, a game between Lierse and Beerschot was suspended when fans taunted Lierse’s Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with cries of “Fukushima, Fukushima”—referring to the disaster at the nuclear power plant following the tsunami and earthquake in March.

After years of working to contain hooliganism, authorities now want to do more to crack down on racial insults and crude taunts that rain down from the stands during games through much of Europe.


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