Trabzonspor FC of Turkey has revealed they filed a criminal complaint after their midfielder and Nigeria international, John Obi Mikel allegedly became another addition in the growing list of targeted racist abuse from Fenerbahce supporters. The former Chelsea midfielder was reported to have been targeted by abusive and harmful messages after the two sides played each other in the Turkish Super Lig on Saturday.
In a statement released on Monday by the Turkish club reads, “Racism is a shelter for helpless and ignorant. We condemn the racist attacks against our player Obi Mikel after the match against Fenerbahce and we bring to the public attention that a criminal complaint has been filed against the assailants.”
Obi Mikel played out the 90 minutes, but it was the alleged abuse that dominated headlines in local media following the final whistle. The 32-year-old’s team-mate Joao Pereira took to social media to air his grievances on the incident describing it as sad and unacceptable. He said, “It is sad and unacceptable that in 2020 we are still facing acts of racism and disrespect like this. Football is much bigger than the little people behind these unfortunate acts. #westandwithobi #saynotoracism.”
Reports in Turkey detailed how abusive messages were sent to the player’s Instagram page. ‘including use of the N-word and banana emojis’. In his post-match message to his own supporters, he did not acknowledge any abuse. “Great victory tonight, amazing team spirit, thank you to our amazing fans,” Mikel wrote.
The match was a heated one on the pitch with Mikel reported to have been in a furious argument with Fenerbahce midfielder Emre Belozoglu at the final whistle, as Trabzonspor held on for a vital 2-1 win. The pair ‘had to be separated by team-mates’ with tensions running high given Trabzonspor’s victory means they overtook Fenerbahce into third in the division.
Before the Mikel Obi racism saga, former Premier League stars Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue were at various times subjected to monkey chants from Fenerbahce supporters while playing for Galatasaray in 2013. Bananas were pictured being brandished in the stands and Drogba hit out at the time on the taunts.
Writing on Galatasaray’s official Facebook page at the time, Drogba wrote: “You call me monkey but you cried when Chelsea beat Fenerbahce in 2008, you called me monkey but you jumped in front of your screen when I won the Champions League, you called me monkey but you got mad when I became champion with Galatasaray and the saddest thing is you called me monkey and forgot that you jumped my ‘monkey’ brother [who] scored twice yesterday… And you call yourself a true fan?