Image: Twitter/ Goal
A professional German third division match between Duisburg and Osnabruck was abandoned 30 minutes into the game after fans threw racial slurs at a few players. Referee Nicolas Winter brought the match to a halt after hearing the racist abuse. Winger Aaron Opuku, on loan at the club from Hamburg, appeared visibly upset when leaving the pitch and is understood to have been among the players to whom the slurs were directed towards.
The incident was quickly condemned with Duisburg President Ingo Wald gave out a statement and insisted that while the actions did not represent the larger football community in Germany, they still hold the power to sabotage the game for the rest of them.
"That is basically always a minority. However, this minority may destroy football. Every fan should stand behind the fact that something like this is not proper!" he told MagentaSport.
Fans too were quick to offer support and chanted anti-fascism songs "Schrei nach Liebe" and chant pf "Nazis out!" grew as fans were hopeful of a potential restart after the offenders were evicted from the ground. However, while initially the Duisburg vs Osnabruck was scheduled for resumption after discussions but after a much long 15 min wait, it was announced that the game has been 'abandoned' and that play will not restart.
“The game is over after VfL Osnabrück is no longer able to compete. We fully understand this. A bitter afternoon for football.” Duisburg tweeted.
Die Partie ist beendet, nachdem der VfL Osnabrück sich nicht mehr in der Lage sieht anzutreten. Wir verstehen das vollumfänglich und nehmen die Situation, wie sie ist. Ein bitterer Nachmittag für den Fußball in #Duisburg!#MSVOSN #3Liga— MSV Duisburg (@MSVDuisburg) December 19, 2021
Osnabrück’s official account tweeted: “The game has been stopped. Opoku was racially insulted. Incomprehensible. Aaron, we stand behind you!”
"VfL Osnabrück - more than understandably - cannot continue. The player is distraught and the whole team has had enough. And so have we, to be honest, after this unbelievable incident. We're all speechless.It's shameful. Hopefully this is the final warning for all the brainless people in this country and across the world to accept and respect people as they are." Duisburg press officer Martin Haltermann told German broadcaster Magenta TV.
Speaking about the incident in his match report Referee Nicolas Winter said "There was a corner for Osnabrück and then monkey noises from the stands. I could see how shocked the players were."