(Reuters) – The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) fined River Plate $30,000 on Friday after one of the Argentine club’s fans was filmed throwing bananas at supporters from visiting Brazilian side Fortaleza in a Copa Libertadores match.
CONMEBOL said they would “increase and toughen” sanctions following a number of racist incidents highlighted by Brazilian clubs.
River Plate condemned the incident that occurred on April 14 and media reports said the club had banned the fan for 180 days.
Earlier this week an Argentine fan was arrested by Sao Paulo police at the Corinthians v Boca Juniors game after being filmed making monkey gestures. Other racist incidents were reported in games involving Brazilian clubs in Chile and Ecuador.
“Any racist manifestations or other forms of violence are ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE,” CONMEBOL said in a statement, adding that it would introduce new anti-racism programmes at different levels of the game.
“CONMEBOL will change its regulations to increase and toughen penalties in case of racism.”
It did not specify what the changes would entail.
The statement came after the CBF president spoke with his counterpart at CONMEBOL about the recurring incidents in the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League.
“These cases of racism, especially in the recent Libertadores games, have caused worry and much indignation and sadness at the CBF,” Rodrigues said in a video published online.
He called for an “international crusade” against discrimination and racism and invited clubs, law enforcement, media, and judicial authorities to meet with FIFA and the CBF in June to discuss what form it might take.
The meeting will also discuss violence in the game, a possible reference to a series of high-profile attacks and threats against players in Brazil.
In recent months, at least two team coaches were attacked with rocks or explosive devices in Brazil, and players from two top teams, Corinthians and Internacional, have received threats via social media channels.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)