The captain of the Shakhtar Donetsk soccer club, Taison, has been banned for one game for his reaction to racial abuse from the crowd during a November 10 match at archrival Dynamo Kyiv, a ruling condemned by the players union.
The Ukrainian Football Association on November 21 ordered the 31-year-old Brazilian midfielder to serve a one-game ban plus a suspended two-game ban.
Dynamo, meanwhile, was fined 500,000 hryvnyas ($20,000) and ordered to play one game in an empty stadium.
Taison showed his middle finger to Dynamo Kyiv fans who had abused him with monkey chants and kicked the ball into the stands during his team’s 1-0 victory. Taison was shown a red card, ejecting him from the game.
While leaving the pitch, Taison was consoled by Dynamo players.
The world player’s union FIFPro blasted the move against Taison.
“Sanctioning a victim of racial abuse is beyond comprehension and it plays into the hands of those who promote this kind of disgraceful behavior,” FIFPro said in a statement, adding that Taison’s red card should be overturned.
Taison moved to Ukraine in 2010 with Metalist Kharkiv and joined Shakhtar three years later.
Police in Ukraine have launched an investigation into the abuse and said they wanted to identify 20 suspects.
All levels of soccer in Europe are struggling with the issue of racist abuse at matches, with the sport's governing bodies handing down an increasing number of fines and suspensions for such incidents.