HomeFootballSpanish TV station fires pundit for derogatory comment about Lamine Yamal

Spanish TV station fires pundit for derogatory comment about Lamine Yamal


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The Spanish TV station Movistar Plus+ has fired the analyst Germán Burgos after Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain refused to give interviews to the network on account of his comment about Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal before Wednesday’s Champions League match.

Movistar Plus+ had earlier apologised to Yamal after Burgos, a former Argentina goalkeeper and assistant manager at Atlético Madrid, said: “If [professional football] doesn’t go well for him, he could end up at a traffic light.”

The comment, interpreted as a reference to people who stand at traffic lights asking drivers for money, sparked outrage. It was made as the 16-year-old Spain international Yamal, who was born in Spain to Moroccan and Equatorial Guinean parents, did kick-ups during the warmup and the programme host praised his skills.

After Barcelona’s 3-2 win in Paris, the on-field reporter, Ricardo Sierra, said Uefa, Barça and PSG were “extremely angry” with Burgos’s remark and that no members of either team would speak to the network in protest.

Burgos then apologised saying “sometimes humour gets you into trouble” and the 54-year-old later posted a more extensive apology on his social media stressing his “intention was not to denigrate Lamine Yamal, quite the contrary”.

Movistar Plus+ said on Thursday they would take “appropriate measures to ensure that such events do not recur” before issuing another statement saying they would “immediately cease their collaboration agreement” with Burgos and warn the programme’s presenters.

“Movistar Plus+ condemns any kind of discrimination and will not allow this type of comment from any of the employees or collaborators linked to the platform,” it said.

On Wednesday, Yamal became the youngest player to appear in a Champions League quarter-final.

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Burgos’s remarks will further fuel the debate around racism in Spanish football, with 16 incidents of racist abuse against Real Madrid’s Brazil winger Vinícius Júnior reported to prosecutors by La Liga in the past two seasons.

This month, Getafe were ordered to partially close their central stand for three matches after racist and xenophobic abuse suffered by the Sevilla manager, Quique Sánchez Flores, and player Marcos Acuña in a La Liga game. On the same day, a Spanish third division match between Rayo Majadahonda and Sestao River was suspended after Rayo’s Senegalese goalkeeper, Cheikh Sarr, confronted a rival fan who he said was racially abusing him.

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