Racing 'strongly condemn racist insults' against Zebo during Ulster game

The French club says ‘racism has no place in rugby.’

Updated at 22.34

RACING 92 HAVE released a statement saying the club “strongly condemns the racist insults” against Simon Zebo during Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Ulster at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.

Ulster Rugby, meanwhile, are appealing for anyone who can assist in their investigation to contact them and underlined that the club will “take the strongest possible action” if any evidence of ticket holders taking part in abusive behaviour emerges.

Simon Zebo Tommy Dickson / INPHO Zebo scored a try during Racing's defeat to Ulster on Saturday. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Former Ireland wing Zebo hinted at being subjected to abuse when he tweeted post-match, “I hope my ears deceived me with some comments directed my way from the crowd #NotOn”.

Ulster subsequently vowed to “robustly investigate any complaints received” and underlined that the province “condemns all forms of abuse.”

Racing have this evening released an official statement showing their support for Zebo and underlining their stance against racism.

“Racing 92 strongly condemns the racist insults that Simon Zebo was targetted with on Saturday during the European Cup game between this club and Ulster Rugby at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast,” reads the statement.

“Racism has no place in rugby, in which the values of solidarity and togetherness are the exact opposite of any forms of discrimination.

“Racing, however, does not wish to stigmatise Ulster Rugby as a whole. The insults suffered by Simon Zebo are the actions of only one or two individuals and have been condemned by many Ulster fans who have shown their support for Simon.”

When contacted by The42 this evening, Ulster Rugby said their investigation is continuing.

“Ulster Rugby strongly condemns all forms of abuse and is working with the relevant parties to conduct a robust investigation,” said Ulster in a statement.

“The club is appealing for anyone who can assist with this investigation to contact Ulster Rugby, in confidence, with a detailed account.

“If there is evidence of ticket holders taking part in any such abusive behaviour, the club will take the strongest possible action.”

Speaking to the BBC, Ulster head coach Dan McFarland stressed the province’s intent to get to the bottom of the issue.

“We’re aware of Simon’s social media postings,” said McFarland. “If that is true, it’s totally unacceptable. As an organisation, we put inclusivity right at the forefront of who we are. That’s across everything.

“When something like that happens, if it happens, it’s taken extremely seriously and will be dealt with.

“If there’s anybody out there who knows what happened, if something happened, and can give information on that, we want to know because nobody should have to put up with that.”

EPCR, the governing body for the Heineken Champions Cup, are awaiting the completion of Ulster’s investigation.

“EPCR is aware that Ulster Rugby are currently investigating an alleged incident of racist abuse of the Racing 92 player, Simon Zebo, during last weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 5 match at the Kingspan Stadium,” said EPCR in a statement to The42.

“EPCR has been in contact with Ulster Rugby and Racing 92, and will now await the completion of the investigation.”

- This article was updated at 7.32pm to include new statements from Ulster and EPCR.

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