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Rodriguez racial abuse charge found “not proven”

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West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez will not face punishment for an alleged racist incident against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Gulls’ Gaetan Bong claimed that Rodriguez racially abused him during a Jan. 13 match, and Rodriguez was charged by the Football Association.

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Fired manager Alan Pardew reportedly spoke up for Rodriguez at the hearing, after which the charge was found to be “not proven.”

The club released a statement following the verdict, with West Brom director of football administration Richard Garlick saying:

“Everyone at the Club is delighted for Jay because this has been a trying period for him. He has always maintained his innocence and we are naturally pleased the Commission has dismissed the charge.”

Batshuayi doubts UEFA cares about racism after case dropped

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi questioned if UEFA cared about tackling racism on Thursday after European soccer’s governing body rejected his complaint that Atalanta fans subjected him to abuse during a Europa League game in Italy.

“LOL. Must be my imagination,” Batshuayi wrote on Twitter after The Associated Press broke the news of the UEFA verdict.

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The Belgium international, who is on loan at Dortmund from Chelsea, tweeted after the February game: “2018 and still racists monkey noises in the stands … really?!”

UEFA did not explain why it dropped the charge against Atalanta, announcing only that it decided “to close the disciplinary proceedings opened for racist or discriminatory behavior.”

There have been several incidents of racism at matches in Italy this season.

“It’s just monkey noise who cares?” Batshuayi tweeted on Thursday. “2018 guys”

UEFA did sanction Atalanta and Dortmund for other offenses by fans at the game.

Atalanta was fined 34,000 euros after its fans set off fireworks, threw objects, and blocked a stairwell.

German club Dortmund was fined 40,000 euros over the use of fireworks and the hurling of objects by supporters.

Scottish club Hearts apologizes to former player over racism

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EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) Scottish soccer team Hearts has apologized to former player Isma Goncalves after he said racial abuse forced him to leave.

The Portuguese forward, who is black, joined Uzbekistan club Pakhtakor Tashkent last month after a year in Edinburgh.

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Goncalves is now quoted as telling the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper that “there were some people making racist comments to me in the stadium and my family did not feel OK about this.”

Hearts says it will be contacting Goncalves “to apologize to him and his family on behalf of the thousands of supporters who share our anger and disappointment that they were subjected to this behavior.”

Hearts added that it was unaware Goncalves had faced abuse at the time, but plans procedures to make it easier for discrimination to be reported.

Nice says Balotelli booked for reacting to racist abuse

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NICE, France (AP) French club Nice says striker Mario Balotelli was shown a yellow card for complaining about racist abuse he received from Dijon fans on Saturday.

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Nice tweeted the Italian forward, who was booked in the 74th minute of a 3-2 away defeat by referee Nicolas Rainville, was cautioned after remonstrating with fans about the abuse. No further details were given.

In comments after the French league game posted on Nice’s official website, Nice coach Lucien Favre and club president Jean-Pierre Riviere were critical of decisions made by Rainville but did not mention Balotelli.

In January 2017, Balotelli – the son of Ghanaian immigrants to Italy – spoke out against Bastia fans he said made monkey noises during a match. The French league subsequently opened an investigation.

West Ham fires Henry for anti-African comments

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Tony Henry’s likely done working in football.

West Ham United announced the firing of its director of recruitment after an investigation confirmed his anti-African (and anti-Russian, and anti-Italian) sentiments were uncovered by The Daily Mail earlier this week.

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Henry started an email rejecting a player by saying, “We don’t want any more Africans and he’s not good enough” before detailing his feelings by ripping want-away Diafra Sakho while saying unsettled African players “cause mayhem.”

The club statement laid out its reasoning for firing Henry, from WHUFC.com:

Our action follows a full and thorough investigation.
West Ham United will not tolerate any type of discrimination.
The West Ham United family is an inclusive one where, regardless of gender, age, ability, race, religion or sexual orientation, everybody feels welcome and included.