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Soccer: Moroccan team reconsiders quitting over racism

Immigrant outfit says it can't fight intolerance by quitting

14 March, 17:32
Soccer: Moroccan team reconsiders quitting over racism (ANSA) - Rome, March 14 - A soccer team of Moroccan immigrants said Friday it has reconsidered quitting the minor Uisp league in the eastern city of Forli after enduring a steady stream of racist insults.

To leave would mean that racists have won, said members of the Casablanca team, which earlier complained of enduring insults week after week.

"We will not withdraw. We remain in the field because otherwise, it would mean a defeat by racism," said Youssef Laazizi, a defender with Casablanca.

Earlier in the week, the team announced it was quitting the league because of racism, particularly after an episode when rival fans shouted: "Go back home, Moroccans," adding other insults during a match against Club Juventinità di Forlimpopoli which was won 3-0 by Casablanca.

The last straw came when Moroccan players reportedly complained to the referee but no measures were taken, said Rachid Hansal, the 41-year-old captain, a former professional player with Morocco's top league.

"We can't stand it any longer," Hansal said earlier in the week, adding the team has sent a petition to the league naming one offender.