Czech ice hockey friendly goes uncompleted after fans racially abuse Romani player and his team stops play in protest
Friday's pre-season hockey match between two Czech teams, Prostějov and Vítkovice, could not be completed because fans of the Prostějov team racially insulted shooter Dominik Lakatoš after he scored a goal for Vítkovice, who then protested the behavior by leaving the ice. The Prostějov ice hockey club is alleging that Lakatoš "provoked" the abuse.
"The game went by the wayside - at 59:03, after a nervous course of play, Dominik Lakatoš sent the puck into the open net of the home side and was rewarded with a shower of racist abuse. The visiting team then left the ice as a sign of protest," the Vítkovice club posted to their website.
"The friendly match between Prostějov and Vítkovice remains unfinished," Vítkovice confirmed. Once Lakatoš scored the goal, a minor scuffle broke out and the audience began to mockingly chant the racist epithet "gypsy, gypsy" ("cikáne, cikáne"),at Lakatoš, who is of Romani origin.
"We are living in the 21st century, and what happened at the end really made us angry, that's why we decided to leave the ice in response to that step. We are one team, one family, and nobody is allowed to dare do any such thing to any member of our family, the decision was immediate and the entire team agreed to it as one man," Vítkovice coach Jakub Peter said when asked about the decision to leave the ice.
The Prostějov club has a different opinion of the disgraceful end to the pre-season match, and the Prostějov trainer even accused the insulted player of having "provoked" the situation. "He was riding around there during the entire match provoking and annoying the players and the fans, who gave it right back to him," the daily Prostějovský deník quoted trainer Vykoukal as alleging.
"They're the ones who should address this internally, because a player is not meant to behave that way. If he's going to do it all match long, then they should tough it out and play to the end," Vykoukal told the daily.
"I believe it discredits them more, not us, that they left the ice," Vykoukal said. His unbelievable commentary corresponds to the reactions of the players for Prostějov, who thanked their fans just a couple of seconds after the racist insults were expressed.
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