SAO PAULO: Santos have urged the Sao Paulo state police to step up their pursuit of the hooligan who racially abused midfielder Arauco after a win away to Mogi Mirim writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The Arauco incident was one of several racial abuse incidents admitted by the Brazilian game in the last few weeks and which have prompted statements of concern from President Dilma Rousseff and Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo.

Last week Rousseff expressed her concerns personally in Brasilia to not only Arauco but also the Cruzeiro player Tinga and referee Márcio Chagas da Silva, all of whom have suffered racial abuse in recent months.

Tinga presented Rousseff – a fan of Belo Horizonte rivals Atletico Mineiro – with a Cruzeiro shirt. After expressing her thanks, she added: “Atletico fans will kill me!”

Rousseff has described the racial abuse incidents as “disgraceful” and urged action on all fronts to combat it.

Santos president Odílio Rodrigues picked up on that with the police authorities, saying: “We want the criminals to be identified and brought to justice for their behaviour. We cannot permit that the clubs be punished for the behaviour of hooligan elements among the fans.

“Punishing the clubs with the loss of points and stadium closures is not a long-term answer. We have to come up with solutions which banish racism permanently from our game.”

Rebelo, adding his voice to the concerns, said: “To insult a black player in Brazil is the height of ignorance. It’s the contribution of black players which distinguishes our game from that in Europe. How can anyone insult our history by insulting the successors of our greatest players such as Friedenreich, Leônidas, Zizinho, Fausto, Didi and the man we only need call The King?”