Racism Scandal Erupts in Ukraine During a Football Game
11 November, 2019
Shakhtar's Taison (C) being comforted by players of Dynamo Viktor Tsyhankov (L) and Mykola Shaparenko Photo: FC Shakhtar

A racism incident at the football pitch in Kharkiv, Ukraine caused tears from two Brazilian players from Shakhtar Donetsk and statements of the two main Ukrainian football clubs and Ukrainian Premier League. Various international media outlets like BBC and CNN have already drawn attention to the case.

The two footballers, Taison Barcellos Freda (better known as Taison), who's Shakhtar's captain, and Bruno Ferreira Bonfim (better known as Dentinho), were disappointed by the shouts of the Kyiv club's fans. The fans were making monkey noises and, after the incident, tagged Taison in pictures of bananas on Instagram.

“My tears were from indignation, renunciation and helplessness, a helplessness that I could not do anything at that moment! [...] In a racist society, it’s not enough to not be a racist, we must be anti-racists! Football needs more respect, the world needs more respect!” Taison wrote on his Instagram late on November 10, referring to the incident as “inhumane and despicable act.”


A post shared by Taison Barcellos Freda (@taisonfreda7) on

What Happened

The incident took place during the Ukrainian Derby between the teams of Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk on November 10.

During the game, the total of eight Brazilians from Shakhtar had shown up on the pitch. But the imitation of monkey sounds made by fans irritated Taison – the Brazilian showed the middle finger and kicked the ball at them. The referee took the players off the pitch in the 77th minute. 

Five minutes later, when the teams returned to the pitch, Taison was sent off. Despite that, the game ended with Shaktar’s 1-0 victory.


In a statement after the game, Shakhtar said that they “categorically oppose any manifestations and forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and any related intolerance.”

The statement reads: “There can be no justification of those who insult other people because of their skin colour, religious, or political beliefs. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable in any civilized countries and football leagues. [...] We condemn this kind of behaviour of the audience, we will always voice the support and protect our players. We are calling on football authorities and clubs to stop racism in the stadiums.


A post shared by Alan Patrick (@opatrickalan) on

Ukrainian Premier League also published a statement condemning “any manifestations of racism in and outside our stadiums” and called for tolerance.

Dynamo tweeted#NoToRacism” and stated that the club would cooperate with any investigation into the incident.

We look forward to the start of the investigation, ready to assist it comprehensively and, if proven guilty, will take all possible steps to further isolate these individuals not only from football but also from society,” the statement reads.

However, the statement also said that they “consider hasty the allegation of predetermined guilt of the fans, when the investigation into the circumstances of this case has not yet begun.

The actions of Dynamo’s supporters is a long-standing problem for the club. The club has been punished numerous times by UEFA, due to the actions of its supporters.

For more than three years until the end of the previous football season Dynamo's players were wearing a “No To Racism” lettering on their shirts during a game.

Dynamo fans have been posting racist images on social media before and after the game with Shakhtar. 

/By Vladyslav Kudryk