Dutch leagues to take a stand against racism

By Sports Desk November 20, 2019

The Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie have announced a protest against racism that will take place this weekend.

Clubs playing in the first and second tier of Dutch professional football will stand still and not play the first minute of their forthcoming matches.

At the same time, text reading: "Racism? Then we don't play", will appear on stadium screens before the games proceed as normal. A minute of additional time will be played at the end of the first half.

The protest has been inspired by events during last weekend's 3-3 Eerste Divisie draw between Den Bosch and Excelsior, when Excelsior player Ahmad Mendes Moreira was subjected to racist chanting.

Moreira, supported by team-mates, left the pitch 30 minutes in after receiving the abuse, with the referee then calling a temporary halt to the match.

The 24-year-old forward scored after the game resumed and celebrated by cupping his hands to his ears in front of Den Bosch fans, leading the club's coach Erik van der Ven to brand Moreira a "pathetic little man" for trying to goad his side's supporters.

Den Bosch released a statement to say sorry to Moreira, who met Van der Ven on Monday and accepted an apology. The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) promised to investigate to identify the perpetrators.

"We want to make clear that enough really is enough by making a statement on the field", a statement from the Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie read.

"We appreciate that all 90 minutes are important for the matches, so we asked the KNVB to add at least one minute of additional time to compensate for the first minute."

Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum spoke out in support of Moreira and called for severe sanctions against those responsible when he addressed the media before Tuesday's 5-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Estonia.

Wijnaldum scored a hat-trick in the game and celebrated his first goal with an anti-racism statement – holding his arm next to that of team-mate Frenkie de Jong to highlight their different skin colours.

The Liverpool player also tweeted a photo of the whole Netherlands squad doing likewise when standing together in a circle on the training field.

Wijnaldum's tweet was captioned: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH #STOPRACISM."

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