Hwang Hee-chan condemns racism after abuse in Portugal
Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Hwang Hee-chan spoke out against racism in an Instagram post on Monday, a day after being subjected to discriminatory gestures during a friendly against Portuguese side Farense at Estádio Algarve in the Algarve, Portugal on Sunday.
"Thank you all for your supporting messages," Hwang said. "Many thanks to my club, staff, colleagues and all my fans. We are all the same human beings. We all need to have a mature attitude on enjoying sports.
"I really hope today could be the last day of people's suffering from racism. Not only in sport, but everywhere. No to racism."
The message was posted in both English and Korean.
Hwang secured Wolves a draw in the game after scoring a penalty to tie the score at 1-1. It appeared to be while taking the penalty that Hwang saw opposition making a racist gesture behind the goal.
Hwang immediately complained to the referee and to his own team captain Conor Coady, but the game continued. It wasn't until after the match was finished that Wolves issued a statement.
Wolves released their own statement on Sunday and said the club would report the incident to UEFA.
Hwang, now entering his second season with Wolverhampton, has faced racist abuse in the past. Last year, when he was first introduced to Wolves fans on the sidelines of a game against Manchester United, United fans sang an offensive chant that references Koreans eating dog meat.
That incident triggered former United star Park Ji-sung to call out his own fans, condemning their continued use of a song that perpetuates racist stereotypes and is targeted at younger Korean players.
Like many European football leagues, Liga Portugal has also struggled to crack down on racism in recent years.
Although the Portuguese national team regularly take the knee — a common gesture across the sporting world as a statement against racism — before games and Portuguese supporters ranked the highest on a YouGov poll analyzing support for the gesture, at 79 percent, racism has continued to be an issue at league games.
In one of the most famous incidents, French Malian striker Moussa Marega, who at the time played for Porto, walked out of a game against Vitoria Guimaraes in 2020 due to the constant racist abuse of fans.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]