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When two rival players collided on the pitch, the Greek professional footballers association (PSAP) came to the rescue to restore harmony among its members in Greece.

On September 13, when Veria FC beat AOK Kerkyra 2-1, the story was not about Nikolao Dumitru's winning goal. The 22-year old Italian striker, on loan from Napoli, caught the headlines for other reasons, as he was reportedly racially abused by his opponent Horacio Cardozo. According to several Veria players, the 34-year old Argentinian midfielder made derogatory and racist remarks towards Dumitru. On the other hand, Dumitru's behaviour also left much to be desired.

The PSAP decided to invite both players and their team captains to their head office, to discuss what happened during that match. The players union had already published a statement criticising both players' lack of respect and unprofessional behaviour.

On Monday September 29, both Cardozo and Dumitru visited the PSAP office, accompanied by their captains Tasos Venetis (Kerkyra) and Nikos Kaltsas (Veria), for a meeting with secretary-general Costas Poulios, treasurer Stamatis Sirigos and legal counsel Athanasios Makriniotis. The players discussed what occurred during the game, apologised for their behaviour and emphasised that the incident had been blown out of proportion. Then they shook hands in reconciliation.

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Cardozo and Dumitru also issued a joint statement: "In certain circumstances during a game, undesirable episodes occur which of course are not indicative of our character. Football players should not have such disputes, and it is significant that we were invited by PSAP, to resolve the unfortunate episode. Football players should be unified in their common goals and anxieties. We should move on. We thank the PSAP for their initiative".

PSAP secretary-general Poulios added: "They should keep in mind that they are role models for the young. It is their obligation to respect each other on the football field and promote the reputation of football in Greece".

Cardozo and Dumitru concluded their visit to the PSAP office by voting for the FIFA FIFPro World XI.

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Nikolao Dumitru and Horacio Cardozo (click to enlarge)

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