NASL finds no evidence of racial abuse in Edmonton, PRFC match

IMAGE, FC EDMONTON

by JAKE NUTTING

The North American Soccer League has concluded its investigation into an alleged racial slur used by FC Edmonton’s Nico Di BIase toward Puerto Rico FC’s Chris Nurse on August 28th. After interviewing players from both sides and center referee Yusri Rudolf, the league says it was unable to find evidence to corroborate Nurse’s claim and has therefore not taken any disciplinary action on the matter.

The league released the following statement on the results of their investigation.

Following a claim that a racist comment was made by one player to another player in a match between Puerto Rico FC and FC Edmonton on August 28, the NASL immediately opened a formal investigation, at the request of Puerto Rico FC, that included one-on-one interviews with players from both clubs, as well as the center referee.

While the NASL in no way questions the validity of the claim, upon finishing its in-depth investigation, the league was not able to find conclusive evidence to corroborate the claim. Although the investigation proved to be inconclusive, the NASL approaches issues of racism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice with the utmost sensitivity, and in no way tolerates discriminatory behavior of any kind.

According to Nurse, Di Biase hurled the slur in the middle of a scrum between the two squads after Edmonton’s Sainey Nyassi had been tossed for an alleged stomp on Ramon Soria late in the match. The NASL did take some action on the match, though, as the league office overturned Nyassi’s red card in time for Edmonton’s trip to Ottawa last Friday.

Nurse addressed the league’s findings in a statement on his Facebook page:

“This is not the first time I have encountered racism in my life or in my career, so i have some experience dealing with it. It is however the first time I have encountered it in the 8 years I have played professional Soccer in North America.

“Hopefully something positive can come out of this, there needs to be systematic review on how these cases are handled in the future. There needs to be clear education for all on what is acceptable language and what is unacceptable despite where you originate from so that ignorance can no longer be a plea of innocence. There needs to be a protocol for referees when instances like these are bought to their attention both during and after games.

“Lastly we need to stop hiding from racism and pretending it does not exist. If we want to eradicate it, then “brushing it under the carpet” or “just moving on” does not have that effect.”


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