Officials with Canada’s primary professional soccer league confirm they’re investigating allegations of racist comments after a tense game on Tuesday night between Calgary’s Cavalry Football Club and Hamilton’s Forge Football Club ended in a tie and a shoving match.
The Canadian Premier League (CPL) issued a statement saying officials are looking into the matter.
“The league is in direct communication with both clubs to gather more information before referring the matter to Canada Soccer,” the emailed statement said, referring to the official governing body for soccer in Canada.
“Once this is forthcoming, we will actively continue to review and support the matter through Canada Soccer’s code of conduct and ethics.”
It was a last-minute penalty kick for the Calgary team that brought them to the heated 1-1 draw with Hamilton in a second-round qualifying matchup in the Canadian Championship.
Hours later, in a video post on Instagram, Calgary attacker Jordan Brown said racist comments were involved in the situation.
“Look, things happen in sport, things get heated after games, during games, etc., and it will always be ‘he said, she said,’ you know, who started this fight,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, I don’t condone racism in any shape or form,” he said.
“A couple of my colleagues witnessed this. Luckily, I never witnessed this because, you know, I would have probably done something I regretted,” Brown said.
Other Cavalry FC players also posted on social media about the incident but later deleted their posts.
CBC News asked officials with Forge FC for a comment, but the team did not provide one.
Cavalry FC midfielder Elijah Adekugbe’s brother Sam Adekugbe, who has played for Canada’s national team, also weighed in, tweeting that there is “no place in the game for racism, especially in a multicultural society such as @CPLsoccer.”
No place in the game for racism, especially in a multicultural society such as <a href=”https://twitter.com/CPLsoccer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CPLsoccer</a>
Calgary and Hamilton are set to play again on June 11 in the second leg of the second-round qualifying matchup.
Racism in soccer has been a longtime problem that occasionally flares up in the game, in the stands, and on the field.
In 2013, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) established a task force against racism and discrimination.
The task force was disbanded three years later with the world governing body announcing: an anti-discrimination monitoring system at matches; the launch of a “good practice guide”; a new team of footballing legends; and a new diversity award.