A friendly match between Manchester City’s elite development under-21 team and Croatian side HNK Rijeka has been cancelled after one of City’s players was allegedly racially abused by an opposition player.
City officials decided to withdraw their players after 19-year-old French midfielder Seko Fofana was allegedly racially abused by an opponent a minute before half-time during the match in Novigrad, west Croatia. HNK Rijeka were leading 1-0 when play was abandoned.
A statement posted on the club’s website read: “Manchester City’s EDS U21 game with HNK Rijeka has today been cancelled due to an alleged incident of racial abuse toward the club’s young midfielder, Seko Fofana by a member of the opposing team.
“Club representatives in Croatia and in Manchester are liaising with officials, the match organisers and the Croatian Football Association to pursue this matter further.”
HNK Rijeka, however, appear to have distanced themselves from speculation that one of their players made racist comments towards Fofana.
A statement on their website read: “Manchester City coach Patrick Vieira entered the field, something was discussed with the referee, and then to the amazement of a well-filled stadium he took his team off the pitch. What are the reasons? They are known only to him.”
France Under-19 international Fofana joined City from Ligue 1 side FC Lorient in January 2013.
According to the club's Twitter feed, Fofana had been sent off for an "off the ball" incident moments before the match was abandoned.