Chennai City FC has alleged that its Japanese player Katsumi Yusa was racially abused by Sri Lankan match referee Lakmal Weerakkody in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup in Chittagong on Thursday. The event occurred during their 2-3 loss to Bangladesh Premier League champions Basundhara Kings.
Reigning I-League champion Chennai City FC has alleged that its Japanese player Katsumi Yusa was racially abused by the Sri Lankan match referee Lakmal Weerakkody in its defeat to Bangladesh Premier League champions Bashundhara Kings in the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup in Chittagong on Thursday.
"Targetted derogatory and racist remarks are extremely impudent and harmful for the person at the receiving end. Chennai City FC can confirm one of our players was racially abused by the referee in today's Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup game against Bashundhara Kings," Chennai City released a statement on its social media account on Twitter.
It added, "[The] Club has raised the same with the AFC Match Commissioner and Bangladesh Football Federation officials."
The incident took place in the 23rd minute when Bashundhara Kings’ Emon Mahmud fouled Charles Anandaraj near the box. Katsumi, Chennai City's summer signing, rushed to the Sri Lankan referee to sought a yellow card for Mahmud, instead the Japanese was given his marching orders after a dispute with the referee, which saw play being stopped for more than 10 minutes in the first half.
Apart from this incident, Bashundhara head coach Oscar Bruzon and Chennai City officials got into a feud on the sidelines after a clumsy foul by Chennai's Mashoor. Chennai coach Akbar Nawas was then sent off for obstructing the play in the first half which saw 12 minutes of added time. Centre-back Roberto Eslava was also given the marching orders 20 minutes before regulation time which meant nine-man Chennai City went down 3-2 in the Group B fixture.
Chennai City came back from a goal down twice to equalise through Pedro Manzi and Mashoor Sheriff before it conceded a late winner in the 88th minute to sit at the bottom of the points table with two defeats in as many matches.
However, Bashundhara King’s officials suggested that there was no case of racial abuse and it may be a case of misunderstanding.
Meanwhile, Gokulam Kerala FC continued its impressive run in the tournament by holding Malaysia's Terengganu FC to a 0-0 draw in a Group B fixture. Fernando Valera's side has four points from two matches and is placed second in the group behind Terengganu.