Anderlecht coach Vincent Kompany has accused rival fans of racially abusing him and his players during a Belgian league game over the weekend.
The former Manchester City captain said he was targeted by racist insults during Sunday’s game against Club Brugge and said his players and staff were also subjected to racist abuse. He said Brugge fans yelled “black monkey”.
“I am going home disgusted and disappointed,” Kompany told TV channel Eleven Sports. “I don’t want to comment on the game. I just want to get together with my staff, to stay with the people who matter to me. We should no longer go through this.”
The son of a Black father and a white mother, Kompany was often the target of racist abuse during his playing years. The 35-year-old has been involved in the fight against racism in football for a long time, pushing for more diversity within the game.
Anderlecht defender Wesley Hoedt said the abuse was “not part of football”.
“Things like this don’t belong here. Of course, we can’t change that much, but it has to come from the Pro League and the people themselves,” Hoedt said.
Anderlecht backed the coach’s accusations. The Brussels club said members of the coaching staff were repeatedly abused during the game and that some players received racist insults while warming up on the sidelines.
“The behaviour of some casts a shadow over Belgian football,” Anderlecht said.
Club Brugge issued a statement following the 2-2 draw to condemn “any form of racism”. On Monday, the club said it will work with all competent authorities to identify the culprits and punish them with a stadium ban.
“These individuals are not representative of the values and norms of our club, and do not have their place at Jan Breydel Stadium,” the defending Belgian champions said.
‘Enough is enough’
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden said Kompany’s response was appropriate.
“Let’s hope he and his team can recover tonight in peace,” Verlinden wrote on Twitter. “The fight against racism cannot tolerate any compromise.”
The incident prompted a strong reaction from Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku, who accused the Belgian league of leniency in an angry rant on social media.
“I hope you realise that an icon like Vincent Kompany has been insulted because of his skin colour … Enough is enough … Take real action now.” Lukaku wrote on Instagram in defence of his former Belgian national team teammate.
The Belgian league joined the criticism, saying racism and discrimination have no place in society and stadiums.