Europa League - Porto surprised by City abuse report
Fri, 17 Feb 13:12:00 2012
Manchester City have informed the UEFA matchday delegate of their intention to complain about alleged racist abuse suffered by their players during the 2-1 Europa League victory over Porto.
Striker Mario Balotelli complained about being subjected to abuse first, with midfielder Yaya Toure backing up his claim, leading to City informing the delegate of their plans to complain.
Although manager Roberto Mancini did not hear the abuse, Balotelli has told a club official he heard abusive chanting during the game at the Estadio do Drago, which City won 2-1. Porto have also registered their surprise at the reports.
Reports circulated during the match that Balotelli and Toure were subjected to monkey noises.
The Portuguese champions and Europa League holders were stunned by the accusations.
"What we can basically say is that nothing abnormal happened, no one noticed anything strange, not even the UEFA delegates that worked closely with Porto during the match," Porto spokesman Rui Cerqueira said by telephone.
He went on to describe two chants from Porto and City fans in support of their respective players Hulk and Sergio 'Kun' Aguero that could have been mistaken for other sounds.
"Kun, Kun, Kun; Hulk, Hulk, Hulk," he said, demonstrating the chants. "(Those chants) can be easily confused with racist chants."
He also said Porto had no record of previous racism.
"We are very proud of having a multi-racial team, with players from all backgrounds and to have achieved many titles with respect," he said.
"Porto players have never felt the slightest hint of racism and we were very surprised with the accusations."
When asked about it, Mancini said: "I didn't hear this because I was concentrating on the game. I don't know if (it happened) to Mario and Yaya." When asked if either player had mentioned it to him, he said: "No."
Toure, speaking to Sky Sports News, confirmed he had "heard something" from the stands. That's why we all like the Premier League, because it never happens there," he said.
"Maybe in foreign countries they don't expect black players. I think in future it will be okay, they will change their minds and the game will become more open.
"Football is football and the fans come to enjoy the game, and we don't want things like this to happen. Mario is now able to control things like this and that is very important for the club."
Pereira: City were stronger than Porto