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Portland Timbers coach Savarese blasts alleged racist comment to Diego Chara during MLS game


Coach Giovanni Savarese said the Portland Timbers are in full support of midfielder Diego Chara following an allegation of racial discrimination during a Major League Soccer game on Saturday.

The match, which Timbers lost 1-0 to Minnesota United, was stopped in the 65th minute because of the alleged incident.

Pioneer Press reported that referee Rosendo Mendoza spoke with Timbers captain Diego Valeri and Chara as well as United captain Michael Boxall and Wil Trapp. It adds that Franco Fragapane, who had clashed with Chara moments earlier, was kept away from the situation by teammates.

The referee then resumed the game with no further action being taken although TV pictures showed fourth official Baldomero Toledo talking to United coach Adrian Heath while the game continued.

In his postmatch news conference, Savarese said he was upset at the way it was handled and said the Timbers stood by Chara.

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“I am very and extremely disappointed that still at this time we have to deal with situations that should not be happening anymore or in any sport or anywhere,” he said.

“It’s things that are not acceptable and in this game there was a situation that had to do with a racist situation. A discriminatory word that has been said to one of our players that cannot have any place in anywhere or in any situation or any sport, nowhere.

“So, I’m extremely disappointed that still at this time we have to deal with these kind of situations in a game. The referee should have handled this situation in a much better way.

“We are all in support of Diego Chara but what happened to him today, the discriminatory word that was said to him, should not have a place anywhere at this time and I am extremely disappointed that it was not taken as seriously as it should have been.

“The whole team, myself, the whole organization, is with Diego Chara in this situation that happened on the field today.”

MLS and Minnesota United are yet to comment.

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