Crowd taunts pro footballer with “Zwarte Piet” chants, racial slurs; KNVB investigating

“Downright disgusting”, is what Dutch football association KNVB called racist chants by FC Den Bosch fans directed at Excelsior player Ahmad Mendes Moreira on Sunday. “This does not belong on a football field”, Jan Bluyssen, KNVB’s competition affairs manager, said to NOS.

On Sunday referee Laurens Gerrets had to stop a match between FC Den Bosch and Excelsior for ten minutes, due to FC Den Bosch fans’ behavior. Songs about Zwarte Piet and monkey chanting were heard from the fanatic M-side every time Moreira had the ball, according to the broadcaster.

The player said after the 3-3 draw that he had been hearing the fans call him "Zwarte Piet", "cotton picker", and even more direct slurs about his race matched with the Dutch word "kanker." The word, which translates to English as "cancer," makes an insult particularly vicious in the Netherlands.

KNVB is doing everything in its power to track down and punish the perpetrators, Bluyssen said, but added that the association’s powers are limited. “We can impose stadium bans of 5 years and fines of 450 euros”, Bluyssen said. “In addition, we can tackle the club through disciplinary law if it has been negligent. Those are our options.” He thinks tackling the perpetrators through criminal law would be much more effective. “Then they really get into trouble in their social life. Then people will think twice about doing this again.”

This week the KNVB will investigate FC Den Bosch’s actions before, during and after Sunday’s match to determine whether the club was negligent. Bluyssen could not say when the results of this investigation are expected.

After the match, referee Gerrets received a lot of praise for how he handled the situation - by stopping the match for 10 minutes. Bluyssen agrees that he acted well. “We agreed with all referees to give a warning through the club in the event of racist chants. And if that does not help, to go in right away. Gerrets has done exactly what we agreed with each other.”