Olympic News

Swiss Olympic team expels player for racist tweet

Monday, July 30, 2012




LONDON, England (AP) — A Swiss football player was expelled from the Olympics on today for his threatening and racist message on Twitter about South Koreans.

The comments by Michel Morganella came hours after Switzerland lost to South Korea.

Morganella "discriminated against, insulted and violated the dignity of the South Korea football team as well as the South Korean people," Swiss Olympic team chief Gian Gilli said through a translator at a news conference.

He said the player was stripped of his Olympic accreditation.

Morganella is the second athlete kicked off a London Olympics team for offensive Twitter comments, following Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou.

He posted the message after playing in the 2-1 loss against South Korea on Sunday. He said in the tweet that South Koreans "can go burn" and referred to them as a "bunch of mongoloids."

The 23-year-old player later released a contrite statement through Swiss Olympic officials.

"I am sincerely sorry for the people of South Korea, for the players, but equally for the Swiss delegation and Swiss football in general. It's clear that I'm accepting the consequences."

"After the disappointing result and the reaction from Korea that followed, I made a huge error," Morganella added.

Gilli said the player had been "provoked" by comments sent to his Twitter account after the match.

Still, the Swiss team leader acknowledged that Morganella had to be sent home under the terms of the International Olympic Committee's code of conduct, which requires athletes to show mutual respect.

"In this case, we felt we have no alternative," Gilli said.

The IOC has encouraged the 10,800 athletes at the London Games to communicate with fans through social media, but it issued guidelines on the standards of behaviour it expected.

Last week, Greece Olympic officials tossed Papachristou off the team after she posted a comment mocking African immigrants and supporting a far-right political party.

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