The opening weekend of the Serbian Superliga spring season was marred by monkey chants and jeers directed at FC Partizan Belgrade player Everton Luiz by sections of FK Rad fans.
The match was briefly stopped while stewards removed a banner allegedly insulting the player and while warnings were issued over the PA system to stop the abuse. The banner allegedly featured a Celtic cross, Confederate flag and SS Totenkopf.
Refusing to take any more of the abuse, the player showed his middle finger to the crowd. He then left the pitch in tears and in a clear state of distress.
After the match, Everton told the media: “I’ve been suffering racist abuse during the entire 90 minutes and also was upset by the home players, who supported that. They were all attacking me.”
While Partizan Belgrade manager Marko Nikolic called for a sanction for both sides for the racist abuse and for showing the fans the middle finger, FK Rad Vice-president Jelena Polic victim-blamed Luiz.
In a now-deleted Facebook post Polic said the Brazilian player insulted Rad player Nikola Drincic, on top of showing the middle finger at the crowd post-game.
She also said the widely circulated photo of Luiz crying while leaving the field was full of “fake tears,” and told the midfielder to go back to Brazil and “show his dark fingers” there.
The player, who joined Partizan last year, told ESPN Brazil despite this being the first incident in football, his daughter has also been victim of discrimination in Serbia.
“There is always something, we can tell people look at us in a different way. It happened once to my daughter, she went to the market and a girl touched her hair and made a disgust sound. We were very upset.” he explained.
On the same weekend, fans of FC Crvena Zvezda displayed a nationalist banner targeting their opponents FK Novi Pazar.
The banner quoted the film ‘Nož’, based on Vuk Drašković novel, which points out the ethnic division in contemporary Bosnia and is centered on the crimes committed to Serbs during World War II.
It relates to a request of FK Novi Pazar to the Serbian Football Association to publish a sanction on the club in Bosnian, instead of Serbian, the Association’s official language.