International soccer authority FIFA is looking into reports of fans appearing in blackface at several games during the ongoing World Cup tournament in Brazil.
Al-Jazeera America pointed to several recent incidents of fans in blackface, including three individuals who attended the France-Switzerland match on June 21 in blackface in what it called a mockery of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble. The three allegedly even appeared in a crowd shot during ESPN’s broadcast of the match.
According to the Associated Press, photos circulated across social media of at least a dozen fans who appeared in blackface at the match between Germany and Ghana on the same day. FIFA said its disciplinary committee is investigating the matter.
“We do not respect any discriminatory messages,” FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer told the AP.
According to a signature drive posted on the petition organization site Care2, FIFA has barred fans from bring specific items into matches, but does not appear to regulate the practice of blackfacing as a method of mocking an opposing team’s players.
“For instance, fans are prohibited from bringing musical instruments or carrying water that isn’t bottled by Coca-Cola,” the petition reads in part. “They’re also prohibited from wearing Beats headphones—Beats wa
s recently acquired by Apple, and FIFA has a licensing deal with rival Sony.”
As of June 27, the petition boasted more than 20,000 signatures.
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