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Murai to meet Marinos to discuss racist taunts

Kyodo

J. League chairman Mitsuru Murai is expected to meet Monday with Yokohama F. Marinos president Akira Kaetsu over the racist taunting of Kawasaki Frontale striker Renato made by a Marinos fan.

The teenage fan, subsequently banned indefinitely by Marinos, was caught waving a banana at Renato during the first half of Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Frontale.

Marinos acted swiftly after TV footage of the supporter spread on Twitter. Team officials identified the fan and questioned him after the match at Mitsuzawa Stadium.

The supporter denied his actions were racist, but the club clearly felt otherwise.

“It’s unforgivable,” Kaetsu said. “We will not tolerate any acts of discrimination.”

The latest racist incident for the J. League comes just five months after Urawa Reds were forced to hold a game behind closed doors as a penalty after their supporters displayed a racist banner — the first match in Japan to be played in an empty stadium.

Bad blood has apparently been brewing between Marinos and Kawasaki supporters.

In May, the two groups clashed at Todoroki Stadium after a Frontale fan accidentally draped a scarf over a banner honoring late Marinos star Naoki Matsuda, angering a number of Yokohama fans, with some swearing payback.

According to one Kawasaki beat writer, Marinos fans directed monkey chants years ago at former Frontale striker Juninho, who, like Renato, is Brazilian and black.

Also on Saturday evening, Frontale supporters tweeted that one of their number was punched by a Marinos fan in an incident that has yet to be confirmed.

The J. League has yet to comment on the situation. It remains to be seen how Murai, still in his first year as chairman, will come down on Marinos after showing in March that he was not afraid to penalize Urawa.