ISL team Chennaiyin FC has condemned an alleged incident in which supporters of NorthEast United were harassed while watching the match between the two sides in Chennai on Thursday. The alleged incident was captured on video and prompted angry reactions from NEUFC fans and the club's owner.
Chennaiyin FC has a very strict and firm policy against racism and any unbecoming behaviour in the stadium. The club strongly condemns any such act. We are looking into any such incidents and will take strong action against it. pic.twitter.com/0ZD2VjMCBM
- Chennaiyin FC (@ChennaiyinFC) 24 November 2017
The 90-second video, whose veracity ESPN has not been able to authenticate, shows a group of NEUFC fans being subjected to verbal harassment by other spectators dancing and yelling in front of them during the match at the Marina Arena. One of those spectators is waving a Chennaiyin flag. There is no sign of security staff during the clip.
"Chennaiyin FC has a very strict and firm policy against racism and any unbecoming behaviour in the stadium. The club strongly condemns any such act. We are looking into any such incidents and will take strong action against it," the club said on Twitter.
The incident was also condemned on twitter by others including NEUFC owner John Abraham.
Statement: NEUFC stands by the the passionate supporters who faced untoward incident at the Marina Arena in Chennai last night. Here is a brief statement from our owner John Abraham. #Highlanders we are with you. #8States1United pic.twitter.com/ceej8iVvG3
- NorthEast United FC (@NEUtdFC) 24 November 2017
Chennaiyin's star striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, who is originally from Mizoram, also tweeted on the matter. "We take this very seriously. Investigation is underway. We hope that the culprits will soon be found out," he tweeted in response to the video.
"We were watching the match from stand E1," said Savio Daimary, who posted the video on social media. "There was a group of local fans who were sitting in front of us, who after a while got up and blocked our view. Then they started yelling in our direction. There was a north-eastern family with a small baby and after some time they left because of the harassment," he told ESPN.
Daimary says that while security personnel were present in the vicinity, no one made an effort to intervene. "There were security guards there but no one did anything. We didn't argue with them because there were not many of us," he says. The harassment, he said, got worse. "Every time Chennaiyin came close to scoring, one of the fans would turn around and yell something at us. We couldn't understand what he was saying because he was speaking in Tamil. But he was speaking very aggressively and some others were making vulgar gestures at the girls in the group," he says.