HomeEntertainment'Traffic light' remark against Barca's Lamine Yamal: Spanish TV station fires pundit

‘Traffic light’ remark against Barca’s Lamine Yamal: Spanish TV station fires pundit


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Spanish TV station Movistar Plus+ have fired analyst German Burgos after Barcelona and Paris St Germain refused to give interviews to the network following a comment about Barca’s Lamine Yamal ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League match. 

Movistar Plus+ earlier on Thursday apologised to winger Yamal after Burgos, a former Argentina goalkeeper and assistant manager at Atletico Madrid, said “if (professional football) doesn’t go well for him, he could end up at a traffic light.” The comment, which has been interpreted as a reference to people who stand at traffic lights asking drivers for money, sparked outrage and led to both teams refusing to give interviews to the Spanish rights holder after the match.The remark by Burgos was made as 16-year-old Spanish international Yamal, who was born in Spain to Moroccan and Equatorial Guinean parents, did kick-ups during the warm-up and the programme host praised the teenager’s skills.

After Barcelona’s 3-2 win in the quarter-final, first leg in Paris, on-field reporter Ricardo Sierra told viewers UEFA, Barca and PSG were “extremely angry” with Burgos’s remark and had said no members of either team would speak to the network in protest. Burgos then apologised saying that “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+ on Thursday said 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,” the TV broadcaster said.

Yamal has become an important part of the Barca and Spain forward line, breaking several records at a young age. Last year he became Barcelona’s youngest debutant in an official match and Spain’s youngest international and goalscorer, among other records. On Wednesday he also became the youngest player to appear in a Champions League quarter-final.

Burgos’ remarks will further fuel the debate swirling around racism in Spanish football, with 16 incidents of racist abuse against Real Madrid’s Brazil winger Vinicius Jr reported to Spanish prosecutors by LaLiga in the last two seasons.

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