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Following alleged incident of abuse, French Football president claims racism in football 'does not exist'

September 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet says racism in football "does not exist" following accusations made by Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.

(CNN)French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet says racism in football "does not exist" following accusations made by Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.

As he made his way off the pitch, Neymar is believed to have told the fourth official about an alleged incident of racist abuse and after the match claimed he was called a "monkey son of a b*tch" by Marseille's Álvaro González.

Neymar subsequently issued a statement through social media regretting involvement in a brawl, but adding that "racism exists" in football.

"I was punished with red because I wanted to hit someone who offended me. " Neymar went on to say, "Racism exists.

In remarks to French TV channel BFM, Le Graet downplayed racism in the sport.

READ: Neymar says he 'acted like a fool' in brawl but demands racism must stop

READ: 'I don't want to be held hostage on homophobia,' says French Football Federation president

"Racism in France . . .

in a whole match there may be some discrepancies, but we have less than one percent of difficulties today," Le Graet told French TV channel BFM.

So quite frankly, the phenomenon of racism in sport, and in football in particular, does not exist, or [it is] little. "

In response, the FFF says the "polemic" generated by Le Graet's comments is "not founded. "

"Our president said there is no more than 1% of racist incidents in amateur football," it told CNN in a statement.

"This is a fact based on the Observatory [CIES Football Observatory] of behavior in amateur football, in collaboration with French authority (ONDRP).

And 76 games only, even if it is always too much, were for racism or other discrimination incidents.

"Our president doesn't ignore there are racism problems in football and he has fought against racism all his life in football and politics . . .

but no sport like football works for diversity and integration.

"And if there are some racism problems in football . . .

There have been a number of racist incidents in European football in recent months, including in Italy's Serie A, Ukraine, the English Premier League and during international fixtures.

Back in September 2019, he told radio station France Info that he was "totally against" the interruption of football matches as a result of homophobic chants and banners, despite rules introduced by the FFF last season instructing referees to do exactly that.

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