By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Sports Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Seleção carried on their preparations for the 2014 World Cup under a cloud after a comfortable March 28th 2-0 victory over Scotland at the Emirates Stadium in London. Mano Menezes’ men outplayed their limited opponents, with Santos wonder kid Neymar scoring both goals.
His first strike was a true work of art. Trapping the ball in the penalty area, he succeeded in curling the ball with his right foot inside the far corner of the goal while in extremely limited space.
Unfortunately, the talented teenager has now found himself at the center of a race row after a banana was thrown onto the pitch before his second goal from the penalty spot. In an interview after the game, Neymar accused sections of the Scottish support of racial abuse.
“They were jeering me a lot, even when I was about to kick the penalty. The entire stadium was jeering. The atmosphere of racism is totally sad,” he said.
The CBF (Brazilian Football Federation) had written to the Scottish Football Association requesting an apology, who in turn demanded an apology from the Santos starlet for what they believe was an unnecessary overreaction.
Last Friday, April 1st, Neymar responded: “I was surprised on Thursday by a letter from the Scottish FA (SFA), in which they demand an apology from me or from the Brazilian Football Confederation regarding the incident involving a banana thrown toward the field during the Brazil vs Scotland friendly.”
Stewart Regan, the SFA chief executive, claimed Neymar’s comments cast a negative light on the “good humored and respectful Scottish fans.”
The SFA were left aghast at Neymar’s accusations and defended the actions of their fans, claiming that the constant jeering of Neymar came about through his various dives and attempts to cheat the referee into giving free kicks. An SFA statement said: “The Scottish FA refutes claims from Neymar that he was the subject of racial abuse.”
Following an inquest by Arsenal Football Club, at whose ground the match was held, the culprit was revealed as a German teenager who had been sitting in an area reserved for Brazilian fans. The adolescent, as yet unnamed, admitted the act. The Metropolitan Police in London released the following statement: “The Metropolitan Police are satisfied there was no racial intent and no further action will be taken.”
Santos’ response to the claim that no racism was involved was: ‘We cannot prove if it was a Scottish person or not (who threw the banana). It’s in the past. I will go back to Brazil and play my football. I have already forgotten about it.”
He continued, “It was one isolated case that did not show a good attitude. I hope the guy who did it will think about it and not do it again.”
Despite the proclaimed innocence of the Scottish supporters, Neymar has refused to apologize. The striker posted on his website: “At no time did I accuse any supporter, or group of supporters, of racial abuse. All the interviews I gave at the of the match, in Portuguese, are available for consultation.”