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RACISM IN SOCCER

Turkish justice seeks jail for Atlético’s Emre on racial slur rap

Midfielder cited by prosecutors for abusive language in Super Lig match

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Emre (right) stands accused of racially abusing Didier Zokora (left) earlier this year. DIARIO AS

Atlético Madrid's Turkish midfielder Emre Belozoglu is no stranger to controversy. The international has passed through the Italian, English and Turkish leagues, leaving his mark on the field through his exquisite left foot and off it with foulmouthed exchanges with opposing players.

In 2007, when he was at Newcastle United, he was accused of using racist language toward Everton players Tim Howard, Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo. The Football Association investigated and proclaimed Emre innocent, largely because the match referee said he did not hear anything; but he did lodge the complaints of the Everton players. The public prosecutor in Istanbul on Thursday announced it was seeking between six months and two years in jail for the player over an incident earlier this year when Emre was at Fenerbahçe, stated Turkish daily Hürriyet.

Two-match ban

After a high tackle from Didier Zokora, which caught the Turk in the groin, Emre allegedly called the Trabzonspor midfielder "a fucking nigger." Yobo, then also a Fenerbahçe player, backed Emre's assertion that he had used abusive, but not racist, language and that the two protagonists had embraced after the match.

Emre was banned for two matches by the Turkish FA but Trabzonspor filed a police complaint over the incident, which the Turkish justice system has now confirmed will be pursued.