Tuesday 23 July 2019

Racing 92 release statement condemning 'racist insults' directed at Simon Zebo as Ulster coach calls for info from fans

Simon Zebo of Racing 92 following the Heineken Champions Cup Pool 4 Round 5 match between Ulster and Racing 92 at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, Co. Antrim. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Simon Zebo of Racing 92 following the Heineken Champions Cup Pool 4 Round 5 match between Ulster and Racing 92 at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, Co. Antrim. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has appealed for information after Racing 92 winger Simon Zebo tweeted his displeasure at the reception he received from elements of the home support on Saturday.

Ulster have vowed to "investigate any complaints received" and McFarland has thrown his support behind their bid to get to the bottom of the issue.

"We are aware of Simon's social media postings. If that is true, it is totally unacceptable," he told the BBC. "As an organisation, we put inclusivity right at the forefront of what we are - that's across everything.

"If there's anybody out there who knows what happened and if something happened and can give information on that, we want to know because nobody should have to put up with that."

Simon Zebo says abuse he received from Ulster crowd during Racing defeat was 'not on'

Zebo's tweet, sent on Saturday evening, read: "A tough place to play but great effort from the boys, 2 important points on the road.

"Also I hope my ears deceived me with some comments directed my way from the crowd #NotOn. Django wins in the end."

Django Unchained is a Quentin Tarantino film about an African-American slave in the deep South. The movie is infamous for the amount of times the 'n-word' is heard.

Racing 92 released a statement this evening condemning the 'racist insults' directed at Zebo.

“Racing 92 strongly condemns the racist insults that Simon Zebo was targeted with on Saturday during the European Cup game between this club and Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast,” reads the statement.

“Racism has no place in rugby, in which the values of solidarity and togetherness are the exact opposite of any forms of discrimination.

“Racing, however, does not wish to stigmatise Ulster Rugby as a whole. The insults suffered by Simon Zebo are the actions of only one or two individuals and have been condemned by many Ulster fans who have shown their support for Simon.”

Ulster Rugby also issued a brief statement, saying: "Ulster Rugby condemns all forms of abuse and will work with the relevant parties to robustly investigate any complaints received."

Yesterday, an EPCR media spokesperson issued a statement.

"EPCR has not received a formal complaint from Racing 92 regarding any alleged case of verbal abuse of one of the club's players during yesterday's Heineken Champions Cup, Pool 4 match at the Kingspan Stadium," it said. "EPCR is in contact with both Ulster Rugby and Racing 92, and will be making no further comment at this point."

Ulster Rugby also issued a brief statement, saying: "Ulster Rugby condemns all forms of abuse and will work with the relevant parties to robustly investigate any complaints received."

Zebo scored a try in the first-half of a 26-22 defeat for his side but was replaced at half-time after suffering from a dead leg.

In the team's previous fixture, Zebo pointed his finger at Ulster full-back Michael Lowry before scoring a try in that game and was immediately told to apologise to his young opponent by referee Nigel Owens.

Following that game, Zebo issued a public apology to Lowry after giving his shirt to the Ulster player.

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