Turkish club, Trabzonspor, have defended their midfielder John Obi Mikel, who has been subjected to racist and hateful insults on social media following a heated 2-1 win against Fenerbahce on Saturday.
Trabzonspor in strong terms condemned the “ignorant people” responsible for racially abusing Mikel after their win against Fenerbahce at the weekend.
Mikel was in action from start to finish as his side earned a hard-fought 2-1 win against the Istanbul giants.
It was a heated match, with Luiz Gustavo sent off late on for dissent and Fenerbahce midfielder, Emre Belozoglu, seen arguing with a furious Mikel after the final whistle.
According to a report on Goal, Belozoglu and Mikel had to be separated by team-mates at the end of the game, having been involved in a running battle in the midfield.
Belozoglu, a former captain of the Turkish national team is a controversial figure even in his home country, having previously been accused of racially abusing opponents.
After the distasteful episode on the pitch, Mikel has since been the target of racist slurs on social media, prompting Trabzonspor to issue a statement on Twitter which reads:
“Racism is a refuge for helpless and ignorant people. Our player, [John] Obi Mikel, condemns the racist insults after the Fenerbahce match. We present to the public that we have filed a criminal complaint against the offenders.”
Irkçılık, acizler ve cahiller için bir sığınaktır. Futbolcumuz Obi Mikel'e Fenerbahçe maçından sonra yapılan ırkçı saldırıları kınıyor; saldırganlar hakkında suç duyurusunda bulunduğumuzu kamuoyunun bilgisine sunuyoruz. #SeninleyizObi #WeStandwithObi #SayNotoRacism pic.twitter.com/nna9O0RXP6
— Trabzonspor (@Trabzonspor) February 3, 2020
Screengrabs circulated on social media show explicit racial abuse allegedly sent to Mikel via Instagram.
The former Super Eagles captain has not addressed the abuse himself, with his last post on the platform reading: “Great victory tonite [sic], amazing team spirit… thank you to our amazing fans.”
This is Mikel’s first season in Turkey after being released by Middlesbrough last summer.
Aside from this racist attack, Mikel and his teammates have been doing well enough on the pitch as they have leapfrogged Fenerbahce into third in the Turkish Super Lig following the victory at the weekend.
Mikel and others have a game in hand on the top two and, if they win that match, they could go top of the table on goal difference.