Vasco begin investigation into incident

  • Under attack: Antoine Augustus was the victim of an incident where a fan was ejected from Bernard Park for inappropriate behaviour directed towards him during the First Division clash between Young Men’s Social Club and Vasco de Gama

Photograph by Akil Simmons

Vasco da Gama have begun an internal investigation after one of their fans was ejected from Bernard Park during their First Division clash with Young Men’s Social Club for inappropriate behaviour towards referee Antoine Augustus.

The incident occurred during the closing moments of the match in which Augustus, close enough to the touchline to hear the comments and see the perpetrator, stopped the game and called over two security personnel.

They were asked to remove the fan, who voluntarily left the ground, but not before aiming further profanities at the official.

Social media reports emerged after that racially offensive remarks and gestures were made during the encounter, to which Vasco have responded to in the following statement to The Royal Gazette.

“Social media reports have alleged that racially offensive remarks and gestures were made at the First Division match between Vasco da Gama and YMSC on Sunday, October 6,” the club said.

“Separately, a Vasco fan was ejected from the field for shouting profanities. Our preliminary information is that he did not use any racially insensitive language or gestures. This fan has since unreservedly apologised for his behaviour.

“The club will begin an investigation into these very serious allegations. We encourage anyone with information about the behaviour of any Vasco fan to step forward with their allegations or to make a formal complaint to the Bermuda Football Association.

“We will get an independent person to take the lead in conducting this investigation, and we will forward the findings of this process to the BFA.

“It is important that we gather the facts first before we make any firm conclusions. However, if any member of the Vasco da Gama Club or any player for the Vasco senior team is found to have made any racially insensitive remarks, the club will take the strongest disciplinary action we can.

“We will also co-operate with any separate investigation undertaken by the BFA, and we will support any action by them or other authorities.

“We want to do our part to help foster a family friendly environment for football in Bermuda. We as a club believe that there is NO place for racism in local football, at the club or in general.”

The Bermuda Football Association has also confirmed that it has opened a separate and full investigation into the incidents, citing a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate behaviour towards matchday officials.

“We are aware of inappropriate behaviour towards the referee and a full investigation is under way by the BFA,” the association said.

“Statements have been taken from referee’s reports and other witnesses. There will be no further comment as of yet while the investigation is ongoing but we stress that the BFA are taking this matter extremely seriously and do not tolerate inappropriate behaviour towards the officials.”