Aleksander Ceferin, the Uefa president, has said the throwing of a banana skin at Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “a disaster” for football.
The banana peel was hurled at Aubameyang by a Tottenham Hotspur fan after the striker scored a 10th-minute penalty in Sunday’s feisty north London derby.
Spurs have banned the fan indefinitely from attending further games, and the Metropolitan Police has also charged the supporter for throwing a missile onto the pitch.
Ceferin said that more must be done to combat racism in football, saying the sport’s governing bodies should educate as well as punish.
“Racism is of course a big problem in football but it’s also a big problem in society, too, and not just racism but sexism too,” Ceferin said.
“We have to do more. We are doing quite a lot already and we sanction clubs and associations, and we do that, but we need to educate as well. But when you see an event like that, it’s a disaster if you ask me.”
Gareth Southgate, the England manager, said the incident “definitely looks” like it was racially motivated.
“If proven that there is any sort of racially motivated incident then it is unacceptable,” Southgate said. “The first observation is that it definitely looks that way.
“I think we talk a lot about how much we have progressed in terms of dealing with racism in our country but we still have moments like this that disturb you and concern you.”
Unai Emery, the Arsenal head coach, added: “I don’t accept this behaviour, and nobody accepts it. The police are doing their work.”
Metropolitan Police said that a total of six arrests were made in relation to the match, with four men subsequently charged.
One man was charged with a public order offence and three men were charged with throwing a missile onto the pitch.
It is understood that two of those men were Arsenal fans who threw missiles at Spurs players during the touchline melee that followed Eric Dier’s equaliser. The other charge was a result of the banana being thrown towards Aubameyang, who posted a picture of the banana on Instagram with the message ‘#whysmandoingthis’.
Spurs have banned the fan indefinitely from attending further games and the Metropolitan Police have charged the supporter for throwing a missile on to the pitch. The supporter last night claimed he had found the banana skin inside the ground and had thrown it without any racist intent.
The FA later said that both Arsenal and Spurs have been charged for failing to control their players during that scuffle in the first half.
“It is alleged that in the 32nd minute, they failed to ensure that their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion,” an FA spokesperson said. Both clubs have until 6pm on Thursday to respond to the charge.
Speaking after the match, Dier said the match had “felt like a derby again”, adding that the emotion and passion of the game was good for the sport.
“Every loss hurts,” the England midfielder said. “The nice thing is that it felt like a derby again. I don’t think it has felt that way for quite a few years and football needs these kind of games. If you take the emotion out of these games then you are ruining football.
“It can go for or against you at times but at least it felt like a derby again from everyone’s point of view. That’s really good for football. But we are not happy when we lose any game and this is no different.”