Monday 17 June 2019

Ulster step up probe as Racing condemn 'racist abuse' directed at Zebo

Simon Zebo: Tweeted about incident after Saturday’s match. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Simon Zebo: Tweeted about incident after Saturday’s match. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ulster have stepped up their investigation after French side Racing 92 condemned "racist insults" allegedly directed at rugby star Simon Zebo.

The province called for supporters to assist their investigation and indicated they will take the strongest possible action against any supporters if evidence is uncovered.

Racing 92 last night formally complained of the alleged abuse which the Irish international had alluded to in a tweet following Saturday's game between Ulster and his current, Paris-based club.

Zebo tweeted: "I hope my ears deceived me with some comments directed my way from the crowd #NotOn."

Yesterday evening, Racing issued a statement confirming the allegations of racist abuse.

"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," they said.

"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."

Outcome

Champions Cup organiser European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has said it will await the outcome of the Ulster investigation.

"EPCR is aware that Ulster Rugby are currently investigating an alleged incident of racist abuse of the Racing 92 player Simon Zebo during last weekend's Heineken Champions Cup Round 5 match at the Kingspan Stadium.

"EPCR has been in contact with Ulster Rugby and Racing 92 and will now await the completion of the investigation."

Earlier, Ulster coach Dan McFarland said the club was taking the matter very seriously.

"We're aware of Simon's social media postings," said McFarland.

"If that is true, it's totally unacceptable.

"As an organisation, we put inclusivity right at the forefront of who we are.

"When something like that happens, if it happens, it's taken extremely seriously.

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

Irish Independent

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