‘Full report’ ordered into Traore abuse

Benetton have been ordered to take action against anyone involved in the racial abuse of Cherif Traore by the United Rugby Championship.

Italy prop Traore, who was born in Guinea, revealed on social media that he was given a rotten banana in the club’s ‘Secret Santa’ and that his teammates reacted to the present by laughing, making him feel “hurt”.

Benetton have been condemned for their weak response. An initial Benetton statement made no mention of an investigation or possible punishment.

The squad have since apologised to Traore, 28, but the URC has now demanded that Benetton launch a full inquiry in the expectation of sanctioning those responsible.

“Benetton have been asked to provide a full report on what has occurred and what meaningful action will be taken as a result,” a statement read.

“Racism and discrimination of any kind are abhorrent, completely unacceptable in society and are utterly counter to the values of the sport of rugby and the URC.”

URC’s intervention comes after England prop Ellis Genge insisted there must be repercussions for the racial discrimination of a player who has won 16 caps for Italy.

“If there is no further action on this from Benetton then everything we’ve done for “rugby against racism” has been a tick box for most,” Genge said on Twitter.

Luther Burrell, whose former club Newcastle have been investigated following revelations about the racial abuse the England centre faced, described the treatment of Traore as “inhumane”.

“Nobody should be accepting this abhorrent behaviour!” Burrell said on Twitter.

“It really saddens me, I can only imagine he feels ostracised, for his teammates to behave like this, for them to snigger while he opens a wrapped banana as a gift is cruel, it’s inhumane … now it’s damage control for them?”

All Benetton players were summoned to the club’s training ground on Wednesday afternoon, where they apologised to Traore and were addressed by president Amerino Zatta.

“The meeting was an opportunity to discuss and understand how what one of my teammates did when exchanging Christmas presents is purely the result of idiocy and nothing other,” Traore said.

“I appreciate and accept his apology and that of the entire team. I’m happy with the gesture and I’m sure what happened will make the group even more solid.

“We are a family and as such we will continue to commit ourselves on and off the pitch, fighting, as we always have, against all forms of discrimination.”


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