Palmeiras midfielder Bruno Tabata has been given a four-month suspension by CONMEBOL following accusations of racism during a 3-0 victory against Cerro Porteno in the Copa Libertadores. Tabata claims to have been the target of abuse and his club intends to challenge the decision.
Tabata and other Palmeiras substitutes highlighted instances of racist abuse from Cerro Porteno fans during the match, which took place in May. Nevertheless, CONMEBOL’s Disciplinary Tribunal has punished the Brazilian player for “unsportsmanlike conduct”.
Palmeiras intends to challenge the penalty imposed on them in tournaments organized by the governing body of South America. They have gathered video evidence to support their case and will use it in their appeal.
“Completely mistakenly, I was denounced by the Cerro Porteno team for making racist gestures to the fans of the Paraguayan club in our Libertadores away game, acts that I did not commit in any way,” Tabata said in a video sent to CONMEBOL.
“What actually happened was that I heard the fans shouting ‘monos’ (monkeys) at the players who were on the pitch, near the north stand. We don’t speak Spanish and we didn’t understand what was going on.”
“When we understood, I asked them back and wanted to understand if that was it, if they were calling us monkeys.”
“I was denouncing the racism that was taking place by their fans, because they are the ones responsible, not us,” he added.
A video was shared on social media and reported by local media outlet Globo Ge, showing a fan of Cerro Porteno hurling racist insults at Palmeiras players.
As a result, CONMEBOL fined Cerro Porteno $100,000 and mandated the partial closure of the lower north stand of the General Pablo Rojas stadium for their next home game. The closed section must be covered with a banner that says “Stop racism.”
No response has been received from CONMEBOL regarding this incident.