Following two consecutive weeks of racism from the stands, individuals from within Chile's professional game 'Show Racism the Red Card' and call for action.
"The struggle against racism and discrimination is one of the main concerns of the footballing unions of the entire planet. So we shall be working hard to rid our football grounds of this scourge once and for all. We never thought that we would have to use it in our country."
Carlos Soto, President of Sifup, the professional footballers association of Chile
Sifup, the professional footballers association of Chile, urged the country's authorities to take strict measures to tackle racism, after Venezuelan striker Emilio Renteria was racially abused for the second time in two weeks.
Last Saturday, two weeks after O'Higgins supporters had abused Renteria, some Deportivo Iquique fans verbally went after the San Marcos de Arica player. The racist chants and gestures began following Renteria's goal in the 45th minute, putting Arica ahead 1-0. Referee Julio Bascunan first halted play for several minutes, in an attempt to quite the visiting fans. But when play resumed, these Iquique supporters continued the racist abuse. In the 70th minute, referee Bascunan suspended the match.
Renteria was visibly affected by the abuse.
Only two weeks ago, O'Higgins fans had directed racist chants and gestures at Renteria, forcing the referee to halt play for some minutes. In a reaction, the Chilean FA (ANFP) had said it would request the maximum penalty possible for those responsible. Nothing has happened to this moment.
Sifup, the Chilean professional footballers association, too reacted immediately after the first incident. President Carlos Soto sat down with Renteria for a private conversation and to offer the union's support. Then Sifup issued a public statement indicating that it would support all means necessary to investigate and sanction the people responsible for the deplorable and reprehensible occurrences.
Also after the second incident, Sifup was quick to address the regrettable behavior of the so-called fans. On Tuesday, three days after the November 22 incident, the players union organised a press conference in San Marcos, attended by among others President Soto, Emilio Renteria and his team mates of San Marcos de Arica, who were joined by the club's management.
Sifup announced it will launch a campaign against racism. FIFPro – the world players' union – has a partnership with "Show Racism the Red Card". Both parties aim to fight racism and discrimination and promote diversity through education. Sifup and FIFPro aim to replicate this campaign in Chile, to increase awareness about this social problem.
"The struggle against racism and discrimination is one of the main concerns of the footballing unions of the entire planet. So we shall be working hard to rid our football grounds of this scourge once and for all", said Soto. "We never thought that we would have to use it in our country."
The players union also urged for strict measures: "We are asking the authorities to regard as a crime any racist behaviour in professional football."
Renteria said that he is contemplating leaving the country due to the serious situation he has encountered. "I have been thinking many things over because, in all the years that I've been playing, this is the first time that this has happened to me. I haven't decided anything yet. I am discussing it with my family, but I want to continue during the next months, as I need to fulfill my contract", said the former player of Levante (Spain), Colombus Crew (USA) and Defensor Sporting (Uruguay).
Renteria added: "I feel I have the backing of my colleagues. This is one of the finest teams I've ever been a member of. I am aware of the support of SIFUP and I thank them for it."
San Marcos team captain Pedro Carrizo welcomed the presence of Sifup in Arica. "It gives us more strength while coping with this situation. We don't want this to happen again."
Soto, Renteria and all players from San Marcos de Arica then showed racism their red cards.
Speaking about the actions of fans, Ged Grebby, Cheif Executive of SRtRC said "Reports of the abuse directed at Emilio Renteria are staggering, however one encouraging element appears to be the reaction of the referee who followed the correct protocol in the second instance".
"There is absolutely no place for racism within football and we are pleased that the campiagn is being used in Chile as part of our partnership with FIFPro to help raise awareness of the issue"