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Sifup, the professional footballers association of Chile, urged the country's authorities to take strict measures to tackle racism, after Venezuelan striker Emilio Renteria was racially abused for the second time in two weeks.

Last Saturday, two weeks after O'Higgins supporters had abused Renteria, some Deportivo Iquique fans verbally went after the San Marcos de Arica player. The racist chants and gestures began following Renteria's goal in the 45th minute, putting Arica ahead 1-0. Referee Julio Bascunan first halted play for several minutes, in an attempt to quite the visiting fans. But when play resumed, these Iquique supporters continued the racist abuse. In the 70th minute, referee Bascunan suspended the match.

Renteria was visibly affected by the abuse.

Only two weeks ago, O'Higgins fans had directed racist chants and gestures at Renteria, forcing the referee to halt play for some minutes. In a reaction, the Chilean FA (ANFP) had said it would request the maximum penalty possible for those responsible. Nothing has happened to this moment.

Sifup, the Chilean professional footballers association, too reacted immediately after the first incident. President Carlos Soto sat down with Renteria for a private conversation and to offer the union's support. Then Sifup issued a public statement indicating that it would support all means necessary to investigate and sanction the people responsible for the deplorable and reprehensible occurrences.

Also after the second incident, Sifup was quick to address the regrettable behavior of the so-called fans. On Tuesday, three days after the November 22 incident, the players union organised a press conference in San Marcos, attended by among others President Soto, Emilio Renteria and his team mates of San Marcos de Arica, who were joined by the club's management.

Sifup announced it will launch a campaign against racism. FIFPro – the world players' union – has a partnership with "Show Racism the Red Card". Both parties aim to fight racism and discrimination and promote diversity through education. Sifup and FIFPro aim to replicate this campaign in Chile, to increase awareness about this social problem.

"The struggle against racism and discrimination is one of the main concerns of the footballing unions of the entire planet. So we shall be working hard to rid our football grounds of this scourge once and for all", said Soto. "We never thought that we would have to use it in our country."

The players union also urged for strict measures: "We are asking the authorities to regard as a crime any racist behaviour in professional football."

Renteria said that he is contemplating leaving the country due to the serious situation he has encountered. "I have been thinking many things over because, in all the years that I've been playing, this is the first time that this has happened to me. I haven't decided anything yet. I am discussing it with my family, but I want to continue during the next months, as I need to fulfill my contract", said the former player of Levante (Spain), Colombus Crew (USA) and Defensor Sporting (Uruguay).

Renteria added: "I feel I have the backing of my colleagues. This is one of the finest teams I've ever been a member of. I am aware of the support of SIFUP and I thank them for it."

San Marcos team captain Pedro Carrizo welcomed the presence of Sifup in Arica. "It gives us more strength while coping with this situation. We don't want this to happen again."

Soto, Renteria and all players from San Marcos de Arica then showed racism their red cards.


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The footballers association from Venezuela, AUFPV, reiterated its support to Emilio Renteria and urged – once again – the Chilean FA to take appropriate action to prevent future incidents.

"We applaud the decision by the main referee for the match, José Bascuñán, to stop the match preventively and definitively because of the disgusting reaction from the Iquique stands to the goal by Rentería. We also feel proud of our colleagues, both our own team and our opponents, who supported the Caracas striker on the spot."

"Last and not least, we express our thanks to SIFUP, which has shown itself to be present, diligent and efficient at all times whenever it's necessary to back-up our players, to condemn actions like this and to demand retaliation for them."