Neymar has accused French referees of turning a blind eye to racism within football and says that officials ignored his complaints as the Brazilian star was among five players dismissed in a hot-tempered match last weekend.
PSG star Neymar was issued with his marching orders in injury time of his side’s 1-0 defeat to Marseille after the Brazilian appeared to strike Alvaro Gonzalez in the back of the head following several prior altercations with the Spaniard.
He was subsequently overheard on pitch-side microphones telling the fourth match official that he overheard a racist comment being used on the pitch, later accusing Gonzalez of this on Twitter and urging VAR to be used to clarify the matter.
In a statement released by his social media accounts late on Monday, he elaborated further and said that he struck Gonzalez when he realized that the referees “would not do anything” in relation to his complaints.
“I am black, the son of a black man, the grandson and great-grandson of black men,” Neymar wrote. “I’m proud and do not see myself as different from anyone else.
“Yesterday, I wanted those in charge of the game (referees and assistants) to be impartial and understand there is no place for such prejudice.
“Should I have ignored it? I don’t know yet… With a cool head today, I say yes, but my team-mates and I asked the referees for help and we were ignored. That’s the point!
“Racism exists. It does exist, but we have to put a stop to it. No more, that’s enough!“
Neymar added that he will accept any punishment handed to him, but that he also expects Gonzalez to sanctioned for his actions.
Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, say that they “strongly support” Neymar.
“The club restates that there is no place for racism in society, in football or in our lives and calls on everyone to speak out against all forms of racism throughout the world,” a statement issued by the club read.
Gonzalez, however, says that he has been subject to death threats following the incident and that his personal information has been leaked to the internet.
“Marseille is the very symbol of anti-racism in French professional sport, given its history and that of the city of Marseille, the diversity of its stands and the relentless struggle it leads always to eradicate this scourge,” Marseille wrote in a statement of their own.