Australian fans cheer as they wait the kickoff of the group C match between Australia and Peru in Sochi.  Picture: Efrem Lukatsky/AP
Australian fans cheer as they wait the kickoff of the group C match between Australia and Peru in Sochi. Picture: Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Australia accused of racism at World Cup

AUSTRALIAN fans at the World Cup have been accused of "disgusting" racism towards a Peruvian star during the Socceroos' final group stage game.

In an apparent cultural misunderstanding, a group of 2000 Aussie supporters have been accused by Peruvian football commentators of racist chanting directed at star defender Luis Advincula during Australia's 2-0 loss in Sochi.

Several Peru news outlets have reported Australian fans acted with racist intent when they heckled Advincula every time he touched the ball.

While many Peru commentators believe the heckling was motivated by racist views,  there have since been reports from Peru that the Australians were booing Advincula because he had earlier attempted to simulate a foul after contact from a Socceroos player.

Vision of the winger, who plays for Mexican club Lobos BUAP,  flopping on the ground was broadcast around the world - but heckling a player for simulation is not as common in Peru as it is in Australia.

Peru fans have been in full  voice. Picture: Martin Meissner/AP
Peru fans have been in full voice. Picture: Martin Meissner/AP

That apparent misunderstanding led many Peruvian newspapers to conclude Aussie fans were abusing the 28-year-old with racist intent.

Peru's Libero website even reported FIFA would have to take action against Football Federation Australia to punish the Aussie fans at the Fisht Stadium.

"FIFA could sanction the Australian fans for racist abuse towards the right side of the Peruvian team," the site reported.

"Everything was normal in the first minutes of the game. Paolo Guerrero and Christian Cueva were being the headaches for the central Australians.

"However, it was another scenario when the Socceroos fans simulated monkey sounds towards Luis Advincula in the first half. It is only a matter of hours before FIFA sanctions racist acts."

Chile news site Publimetro reported Australian football could face a fine of more than $40,000 (30,000 Swiss francs)  and  any fans found guilty of racist behaviour could be banned from any FIFA-sanctioned event for up to two years.

Peru's depor.com also reported FIFA must investigate the acts of "disrespect" towards Advincular.

Lima-based newspaper El Comercio reported an estimated 2000 Australian supporters made a series of racist chants in a "strong way".

A director at Peru sports newspaper Libero, Carlos Salinas, tweeted: "FIFA severely punishes racism in stadiums. The sounds of the Australian fans towards Advincula, simulating a monkey, deserve an exemplary sanction".

Peruvian journalist and author Daniel Titinger tweeted that Australian fans were booing every time Advincular touched the ball - an act he accused of being "disgusting".

"Horrible the Australian fan. Advincula touches the ball and immediately make Bulla mimicking a monkey How disgusting your racism @Socceroos."

However, there has been no announcement from FIFA that the governing body is looking into the accusations.

Other Peruvian reporters have declared Peru's football commentators got it wrong.

A sportscaster on Peru's America TV news, Aldo Miyashiro, said it was obvious in the stadium that Australia's chanting was not in any way racist.

"There was no racism against Advincula," he tweeted.

"The Australian fans booed it because they argued that it simulated fouls. The classic "Boo" that the gringos also do."

The reports have cast a black eye on the conclusion to the Socceroos; World Cup campaign after Australian and Peru fans were spotted celebrating the end of their team's tournaments together outside of the stadium in Sochi.

Back at the World Cup for the first time since 1982, the Peruvians failed to score a goal in their opening two matches but the team finally gave its fans a reason to celebrate when it ended Australia's hopes of advancing to the knockout round with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday.

The victory allowed Peru to move into third place in the group, finishing with four points. The Australians ended up with one point after losing 2-1 to France and drawing 1-1 with Denmark.

"We went in with greater expectations, but if we look at how we played, I think that Peru emerges from the World Cup with its head high," Gareca said.

- with AP


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