23 September 2020
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French Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) said Monday that the club ‘strongly supports’ Neymar after he insisted that he was a victim of racist abuse following his red card in Sunday’s defeat to Marseille.

The Brazil international will discover his punishment on
Wednesday for being one of five players sent off following a brawl at the end
of the game.

“Paris Saint-Germain strongly supports Neymar Jr. who
reported being subjected to racist abuse by an opposing player,” the French
champions said in a statement. “The club restates that there is no place
for racism in society, in football or in our lives and calls on everyone to
speak out against all forms of racism throughout the world.”

The world’s most expensive footballer was shown the red card in stoppage time of their 1-0 loss at the Parc des Princes alongside teammates Layvin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes, as well as Marseille’s Dario Benedetto and Jordan Amavi.

Neymar insisted Alvaro Gonzalez called him a
“monkey” in a series of furious tweets late on Sunday after he was
dismissed for slapping the Marseille defender on the back of the head.

“Look at the racism. That’s why I hit him,”
Neymar, who was returning from coronavirus quarantine, said as he left the
pitch. Gonzalez later denied making a racist comment. “The only regret I
have is not hitting this idiot in the face,” Neymar then posted after the
game, before replying to a Gonzalez tweet to call him a “racist”.

Marseille issued a statement of their own defending the 30-year-old
Spanish centre-back.

“Alvaro Gonzalez is not racist. He has shown us that by his daily behaviour since joining the club, as his team-mates have already testified,” the statement read.

Hefty punishments

The French league’s disciplinary commission, which will decide
the punishments, could investigate Neymar’s accusations against Gonzalez, who
Marseille claim was spat on by Angel Di Maria.

Any racist behaviour carries a maximum suspension of 10
matches whereas spitting directed at another player can lead to a ban of up to
six matches.

Kurzawa meanwhile could be suspended for up to seven matches
for violent conduct after aiming a punch at opposition full-back Amavi.

PSG, who have lost their opening two games of the season for
the first time since 1984/85, host Metz on Wednesday in what was originally
scheduled to be their season opener.

Abdul Gh Lone