Chileanfirstdivisionclub DeportesIquiquehavebeenorderedatwo-matchstadiumclosurefollowingaracistincident duringafirstdivisionmatchinNovember2014causedanoutcryinthecountry.
A statement of the Chilean Football Association (ANFP) Disciplinary Committee announced the sanction on Wednesday (31 December); Iquique will play its next two Torneo de Primera División competition matches as a host club against Colo Colo (11 January) and Santiago Wanderers (30 January) behind closed doors.
Series of incidents mar Chilean football
On 22 November, during the San Marcos v Deportes Iquique encounter, the home team Venezuelan forward Emilio Rentería was subjected to racist chants and gestures preformed by a group of Deportes Iquique supporters. The abuse, the second targeting the player in less than two weeks, lead the Rentería into tears and the match was stopped for a few minutes while San Marcos players tried to calm down the 30 year-old.
Days earlier, on 7 November the match between O’Higgins and San Marcos de Arica, was also halted after the Caracas-born forward was subjected to racist and xenophobic abuse by a group of O’Higgins fans.
Both incidents lead to strong condemnation from Chilean and Latin American football authorities and raised concerns over the issue ahead of 2015 Copa América, which Chile will host.
At the time, the ANFP President Sergio Jadue said he “felt embarrassed” with the negative example given by Chilean supporters.
“Chilean society has been showing signs of intolerance for a long time and this is something we have to address. However, there seems to be something particular about this player and I am very sorry about”, said Jadue.
Also commeting on the incidents, the President of CONMEBOL Juan Ángel Napout said: “We have to work together and raise awareness of the issue and that it has to be eradicated no only in terraces, but also in society” said the 56 year-old Paraguayan, adding that the Confederation will impose “severe sanctions” to deal with discrimination ahead of the 2015 event.
In the wake of the incidents, on 27 November the ANFP ordered O’Higgins de Rancagua a one-match stadium closure over its fans discriminatory behaviour.