Image copyright AFP Image caption What Suk Hyun-jun was reported to have said – allegedly – is not clear
South Korean footballer Suk Hyun-jun is one of several people to have been racially abused during a Ligue 1 match.
Inter Milan midfielder Shin-Wook Kim says he was abused during a match against Paris St-Germain on Sunday.
Inter’s claim is backed by the club, which said that “contrary to the myth, racism is a reality in Europe, and last night at the San Siro, Asian opposition player Suk Hyun-jun was targeted”.
A statement added the club was working with the French authorities to find those responsible.
Suk, 33, reportedly made his “fight for South Korean football” slogan – which is emblematic of South Korea’s football legacy and culture – a reference to his being racially abused.
The forward retired in 2013 and has since made one appearance for China’s Guizhou Zhicheng and another for Guangzhou Evergrande.
He told Italian media that Paris St-Germain’s fans were “getting off lightly”, and that he plans to “use the fight for Asian football to spread awareness”.
Image copyright EPA Image caption Shin-Wook Kim alleges that he was racially abused by Internazionale supporters
A statement released by Inter on Monday said, “It is unbelievable that there was no penalty for what happened” at the match.
It added: “Because of this, we are working to find who committed the offence and punish them according to French law, and so that this does not happen again.”
The club added: “It is not the problem of the Italian and European authorities.”
‘The players and the fans should be involved’
Suk’s former Real Madrid team-mate, Ricardo Carvalho, told BBC Radio 5 live: “It’s very sad that this sort of thing happens.”
The Portugal international said the best way to tackle such incidents was “to respect each other a little bit more” and “everything depends on the players and the fans”.
“This is something that everybody sees,” he added. “If there is an incident like this, who is going to intervene – the club or the players?”
Sport director of Ligue 1’s governing body, Gilles Mingasson, told BBC Sport that he was “very concerned” by the “sickening” incident.
“Sport has the power to create a moment to make a change in society, and this type of act allows us to strengthen action and dialogue within the sports community,” he said.
“Our organisation’s strategy is focused on all major levels of the sports community in order to confront sporting racism.”
Former England full-back Rio Ferdinand said: “I’m disappointed that it hasn’t been taken more seriously.”
Stoke striker Peter Crouch added: “It’s a terrible thing to happen, and we should take it very seriously.”
Stoke defender and England winger Joe Allen said: “I think it is a real shame to see this type of abuse. It affects all players, irrespective of nationality, and I am sure many of us can recall this vile level of verbal abuse we have received during our careers.”
South Korea international Korean football player Suk Hyun-jun. Image copyright Xinhua Image caption Shin-Wook Kim plays for Internazionale but left the club on loan in the summer
For South Korean football, the incidence of racial abuse is all too prevalent.
Kang Jeong-woo, 63, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for directing racial abuse at Aston Villa defender Seamus Coleman during a league match in 2017.
In August, Yi Jae-ran, 28, was convicted of racial hate crime for his role in the “monkey chants” directed at Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling in a league game at Manchester City in 2016.
In May, forward Aleksandar Mitrovic claimed he was racially abused by Queens Park Rangers fans during a friendly between QPR and Serbia in London, with Northampton captain Kaid Mohamed also alleged to have been the subject of racist abuse.