‘This is called RACISM’: German football club RB Leipzig slammed after kicking out Japanese fans over coronavirus fears
The incident took place on Sunday during Leipzig’s Bundesliga clash against Bayer Leverkusen, when security staff at the Red Bull Arena asked 20 Japanese supporters to leave the stadium just 10 minutes after the kick-off.
In a statement released on Monday, the Bundesliga club admitted that the Japanese group had been “mistakenly” removed from the game, claiming that security officers were acting in accordance with the guidelines from the Robert Koch-institute – Germany’s center for disease control and prevention.
"In accordance with recommendations from the Robert-Koch-Institute (General Principles of Risk Assessment and Recommendations for Course of Action at Large-Scale Events), the ground's security personnel had been instructed to intensify checks regarding the admission of certain groups due to potential risk," the statement read.
"Unfortunately, in this instance, amidst the great uncertainty surrounding this topic, by which we are currently also affected, a mistake was made on our part with respect to our Japanese guests. In light of this mistake, we would like to extend our apologies."
To redeem themselves for the controversial incident RB Leipzig invited the Japanese fans to attend the club’s next home game.
"We are already trying to get in contact with the fans in question to invite them to our next home game to try and make amends for the incident."Also on rt.com Quarantined! Serie A giants Juventus under lockdown due to coronavirus fears
However, the apology did not sit well with some on social media, who accused the club of “racism” by targeting the Japanese group.
“This is called "RACISM". As a former Leipzig resident and still a big fan of RB Leipzig, I am deeply disappointed by such mentality,” one Twitter user wrote.
This is called "RACISM". As a former Leipzig resident and still a big fan of RB Leipzig, I am deeply disappointed by such mentality.— Kosuke Okahara (@kosukeokahara) March 2, 2020
"Anyone who reads from the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute that racial profiling should be carried out and the security service should be given instructions accordingly has a structural racism problem that goes far beyond this individual incident," read another scathing post in German.
Wer aus den Empfehlungen des Robert-Koch-Instituts herausliest, man solle Racial Profiling betreiben und dem Ordnungsdienst entsprechende Anweisungen gibt, hat ein strukturelles Rassismus Problem, das weit über diesen einzelnen Vorfall hinausgeht.— StefHauser (@StefHauser) March 2, 2020
RB Leipzig's next home match is schedule to take place on Tuesday against English side Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League last-16 second leg.