Ba victim of alleged racism in Chinese Superleague
Chinese Superleague team Shanghai Shenhua has accused an opposing player of racially abusing its Senegalese star forward Demba Ba during a match on Saturday.
Shenhua coach Wu Jingui told reporters that a Changchun Yatai player used racially insulting language toward Ba during a fight late in the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw. The Shanghai team later published a Twitter post demanding that the Chinese Football Association take serious disciplinary action against Yatai midfielder Zhang Li.
The incident generated controversy on the Chinese internet, with fans calling for an immediate investigation.
"The Chinese Super League has players of many different skin colours. We should respect our opponents and there should be no discrimination," Wu said after the match. "I cannot calm down now. I feel great regret about the lack of respect to a player."
Shenhua has not disclosed details of the incident, but Xu Jiang, a prominent Chinese sports blogger, wrote on social media that Zhang allegedly shouted "You black" repeatedly at Ba.
The two players tangled in the 77th minute after Ba clashed with a Changchun player challenging for a header. Ba exchanged words with Zhang in a running dispute and reacted furiously minutes later before the two were broken up by teammates and technical staff.
The former Newcastle United and Chelsea forward is on his second stint with the Shanghai side, having re-signed in June.
Ba took the Chinese league by storm during his first spell with Shanghai in 2015 and 2016 before suffering a serious leg fracture.