Berlin (dpa) – Schalke said on Wednesday they are investigating alleged racist abuse of Hertha Berlin player Jordan Torunarigha during a cup match between the two sides the previous day.
Schalke said they were taking Torunarigha’s claims “very seriously” and were working together with local police, security services and internal sources.
“The club has zero tolerance for such behaviour. We will do everything we can to find those responsible and impose sanctions,” a statement from the board of directors said.
“Such behaviour not only violates Schalke stadium rules, its guiding principles and statutes, but also contradicts all of our values. We will respond with sanctions and report the incidents accordingly.”
Hertha coach Juergen Klinsmann had revealed after the game that Schalke won 3-2 in extra time that Torunarigha was abused and that the referee was informed.
Hertha captain Niklas Stark called for a strong reaction from the German football community.
“The whole team, club and league needs to stand with him! Everybody needs to distance themselves from this kind of behaviour,” Stark said on the club website.
“I’m so sorry that he was racially abused from the stands – I can’t imagine what that feels like. I can’t even begin to contemplate what it would be like, and even then it still boils my blood, so it must be much worse for him.”
Stark said the abuse also “partly explains” why Torunarigha was sent off in extra time, shown a second yellow card in a touchline incident which also led to Schalke coach David Wagner being red carded.
Wagner said after the match: “If Jordan Torunarigha was racially abused, I would like to apologise to the player and to his club on behalf of Schalke.”