Belgian soccer team fined over fans’ Fukushima taunt


Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima

BRUSSELS (majirox news) — The Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) on Sept. 9 fined Belgian Pro League team Beerschot 30,000 Swiss francs (2.7 million yen/US$34,920) after its fans taunted Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima by chanting about Fukushima, site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

The RBFA fined Beerschot after it deemed that the fans’ heckling had insulted Kawashima.

RBFA officials apologized to Kawashima and Japanese Ambassador to Belgium Atsushi Yokota over the incident, which occurred on Aug. 19 in a match between Beerschot and Kawashima’s Lierse.

Beerschot officials said they would take time to look into the fine and decide on an official response to be released at a later date.

Beerschot has not been able to pinpoint the fans who taunted Kawashima. The fans heckled Lierse over the similarity of pronunciation between “Fukushima” and “Kawashima.”

Kawashima complained to the referee about the taunts, briefly stopping the match. He left the pitch at the end of the match in tears. He later wrote a blog post deriding Beerschot fans’ actions.

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