FIFPro wants to offer its support to Milton Omar Núñez, a player of Guatemalan Premier League club Universidad San Carlos. FIFPro – the worldwide representative of all professional footballers – is appalled that Milton has been abused several times in the past few weeks. 'We urge the Guatemalan football association and the clubs to take immediate action to prevent further racist abuse of Milton Núñez and all other footballers in Guatemala.'
In the last three weeks FIFPro received three reports on the racist abuse of Milton Núñez, also known as Tyson Núñez. On January 26th, during the Universidad San Carlos USAC away match at Deportivo Petapa, so-called fans of the home team abused Núñez when he celebrated his team’s goal in the 66th minute. The abuse lasted until the game’s final whistle. On February 9th, fans of Club Municipal directed racist chants at Núñez for a large part of the game. On February 17th, Núñez once again was abused with monkey chants, this time by supporters from Club Heredia.
For Núñez, this was a step too far. The 40-year old black forward from Honduras moved to Guatemala in 2009 and since has had too many racist chants directed at him. On Sunday February 17th, Núñez had enough in the 26th minute of the match against Club Heredia, he took off his shirt and shorts and left the pitch. For this action the referee showed Núñez the red card. In his report the referee mentioned that the player had said that he quit because he was a ‘target of racist discrimination from the fans’. However, the referee failed to report the actual racists insults himself.
Núñez – who has played 88 times for the Honduras national team and has scored 34 goals for his country – is contemplating retirement due to the abuse he has encountered. He might be 40, but still feels he has the required fitness to play, however, the recent incidents have taken away the joy of playing football.
FIFPro and the Guatemalan professional footballers association AFG fully support Núñez. ‘It would be a very sad day for the worldwide football family if Milton Núñez would terminate his career due to the disgraceful behavior of hooligans’, states Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s spokesperson on anti-racism.
This year, FIFPro has started worldwide monitoring of all incidents involving violent and racist behavior directed at professional footballers. ‘We have already received several reports from various countries, which we take very seriously. We are appalled that there apparently is a concerted attempt to abuse Milton Núñez. This is sickening. This needs to be addressed by the Guatemalan football federation that must immediately outline steps to prevent further abuse of Milton and his colleagues.’
‘We need strong words, but more importantly strong action is required.’
‘The first signs are encouraging. FIFPro understood that last Saturday the Guatemalan FA has sanctioned Club Heredia and ordered the club to organize an anti-racism campaign for its fans (see below). FIFPro expects that the Guatemalan FA will strictly apply and enforce these measures in order to help eradicate racism from its football.’
‘We at FIFPro hope that Milton Núñez will not end his career due to this abuse. We urge him to keep on playing football, the game he loves, the game he has been playing for 22 years and to end his wonderful career on a high note. That would be a great victory, not only for Milton Núñez, but for the entire worldwide football family.'
The AFG organized a press conference on Monday January 25th
to express its support to Milton Núñez
The first punishment for racism in Guatemala
Núñez appeared before the lawyers who form the disciplinary body for more than two hours and, for the first time in more than one hundred years of history, they heard a case of racism and discrimination.
After having heard the testimony of the Honduran player, along with some other evidence, the legal professionals, acting ex officio, levied the fine and in addition asked the Refereeing Commission of the Football Federation to provide a report on why referee Misaél Hernández omitted any mention of what had happened from his account of the match.
Núñez García has also been exempted from the two yellow cards he received during the game against Heredia.
In addition, Club Heredia has been ordered to start a campaign to educate its fans, with the aim of working against racist insults.
Smiling, and with the energy characteristic of him, the forward said that he felt triumphant in having succeeded in drawing attention to a recurrent evil in Guatemalan football. ‘I don’t want to upset anyone. Let’s hope it will be understood that my struggle is to make a better country’, he explained.
(La Prensa Libre)
- Published: 25 February 2013