Football : Abdeslam Ouaddou wins racism case in France

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The Metz family court (Tribunal de Grande Instance de Metz), France, sentenced a football fan on Tuesday for having insulted the Moroccan footballer Abdeslam Ouaddou qualifying him as a “dirty nigger” and “monkey”. The captain of the Valenciennes team made his satisfaction known after the sentence and called for tighter rules against racism in stadiums.

“The Justice department did its job well. It sentenced what I call a plague.” The Moroccan footballer Abdeslam Ouaddou hence expressed his feelings after the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Metz (East of France) sentenced, a fan who had “publicly and racially insulted him ”.

Stadium ban

Among Christophe H.’s sentences were; a three year probation, a three year ban from stadiums, a fine of 1500 euros to be paind to Mr. Ouaddou. He will also have to pay 1 to 800 euros of expenses to six different parties, the sport association of Valenciennes, the Féderation Française de Football, the French Ligue 1, the Internationl League Against Racism and Antisemitism (Licra), SOS Racisme and the Human rights league.

Christophe H. cannot appeal his sentence. His lawyer announced that he would “advise” his client not to go against the sentence given by the court. Maître Arnaud Vauthier asserted his belief that ,“considering the emotional reactions this affair provoked around the country”, the sentence was “justified”.

“The affair”

February the 16th, Abdeslam Ouaddou led his ten teammates in a Premier League match against Metz, who hosted the event. Christophe H. started raining insults such as “dirty nigger” and “monkey” on Abdeslam Ouaddou from his stadium seat came. This made the Valencienne captain lose his patience: just after the half time whistle, the Moroccan international went up to find and confront the insulting fan. The referee, to whom the captain had complained about the racist insults, rather showed him yellow card for “anti sportive” attitude… The referee’s reaction only fueled his anger and feeling of injustice.

Avoiding similar incidents in the future

This feeling of injustice was to some extent calmed by the court’s decision. Abdeslam Ouaddou congratulates himself, as well as the Licra and SOS Racism, who both sued the fan. The Licra, judging Abdeslam Ouaddou’s law suit as “brave and unique”, considers the three year stadium ban to be “exemplary”. Considering that a similar affair last February involving “ a PSG (Paris Saint Germain) fan” had only attracted a “one year” ban.

It is a milestone, but the Licra would like these bans to be applicable to “entire groups of fans”. SOS Racism stresses the fact that “penal sentences alone cannot resolve the problem” and “calls all football organizations; in particular the Professional Football League to find sustainable solutions against this phenomenon that spoils the sport”.
A call that Abdeslam Ouaddou has backed as well.

He wants “referees, directors, delegates, stadium personnel, fans and authorities to act firmly to eradicate racism” that “referees no longer hesitate to interrupt a match or that spectators do their civil duty”. And because he believes that the racist experience he went through “is not an isolated case” he advices “all insulted players go to court as I did […] I would have wanted Babacar Gueye (Metz football player), who was also insulted, take the same legal action as I did.”

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