Germany are gearing up for the upcoming highly-anticipated Olympic Games in Tokyo, but preparations for their football team have sadly ended on a sour note.
The team took on Honduras in a warm-up friendly for Tokyo 2020, but that match was abandoned with five minutes left on the clock as the German players walked off the pitch after team-mate Jordan Torunarigha was allegedly racially abused.
The game was played behind closed doors, with the DFB confirming that the insult had been made by one of the Honduras players. The game was tied 1-1 – Felix Uduokhai scored the equalizer after the European giants went a goal down – with this tie being their final fixture before embarking on their campaign for a gold medal.
“The game had to be stopped five minutes before the end when the score was 1-1. After our player Jordan Torunarigha was racially insulted, the German team left the field together,” the German Olympic football team announced on Twitter.
Speaking after the incident, head coach Stefan Kuntz argued that his team will always stand in solidarity with a brethren who faces discrimination, saying: “When one of our players is racially abused, playing on is not an option.”
Despite all of this, the Honduras national team claim that the unfolding was merely due to a “misunderstanding”. Taking the social media, the Central American side stated: “Game ended at 87 [minutes] by abandonment due to the fact that a German player alleged an alleged racist insult on the part of the Honduran national team.
“On the subject, the Seleccion Nacional de Honduras expresses that the situation was the result of a misunderstanding on the pitch.”
It remains unclear whether the unnamed Honduras player did in fact racially abuse the opposition or whether this was truly a case of a misunderstanding. Regardless, Torunarigha has been subject to racism before, with the Hertha Berlin defender being abused by Schalke fans in a DFB Pokal encounter, making this recent incident all the more unfortunate.
The battle against racism in the beautiful game has taken center stage as of late, and rightfully so. The insults England trio Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka faced after their missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final defeat against Italy show that there’s a lot of work left to eradicate discrimination from football.
Germany’s Olympic football team will hopefully see Torunarigha return stronger than ever ahead of the Tokyo 2020 kick-off. Kuntz’s side are in for a tough opening game, taking on a Brazil side led by the iconic full-back Dani Alves.