Greek players union slams racist abuse of French midfielder

Ba (right) joined Aris Thessaloniki from Nantes in France. (Instagram pic/Abou Ba)

ATHENS: The Greek footballers association on Sunday join a chorus of voices condemning the racist abuse of Aris Thessaloniki midfielder Abou Ba during their Greek Super League match at Larissa.

Frenchman Ba, 21, was targeted by a portion of the home support during Saturday’s goalless draw.

The footballers association called for a lifetime stadium ban for those who took part in racist chanting directed at Ba, who came on as a late substitute in the stalemate and tried to leave the field in protest before being stopped by officials.

“We don’t want racists at the venues. You have no place among us, and your perceptions offend human dignity,” the group said in a statement.

“Stay away from us and the sport we love so much.”

Former Under-18 and Under-20 France international Ba is on loan at Aris from Ligue 1 side Nantes, and his teammate and countryman Nicolas Diguiny was furious about the incident after the match.

“It’s a disgrace what happened in Larissa and I want to believe that what happened does not represent the whole city and Greek football,” he said.

Sports Undersecretary Lefteris Avgenakis also criticised those who abused Ba.

“Racism has no place in the public life of this country, both inside and outside sporting venues. Regulations are clear and it is self-evident that action will be taken,” Avgenakis said in a Twitter post.

Larissa said in a statement on Sunday the “unacceptable behaviour of two or three people who we consider trash against Ba has defamed our support”.