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Blatter slams Gervinho banana incident

ROMA-FANS-EUROPAZURICH, February 27- FIFA president Sepp Blatter expressed his disappointment on Friday following scenes of racism and violence at Europa League matches in the Netherlands and Ukraine on Thursday.

The match between Feyenoord and Roma was suspended for more than ten minutes after a large inflatable banana was thrown towards the pitch and in the direction of Roma’s Ivory Coast winger Gervinho, who went on to score the winner in a 3-2 aggregate victory.

A second incident took place in Ukraine when a group of some 300 Dynamo Kiev fans came down pitchside and menacingly approached a small group of about 30 Guingamp fans who had made the trip from Brittany.

The French side were eliminated 4-3 on aggregate in a match played in the war-torn country.

“Shameful scenes of violence & racism last night. ALL football bodies MUST implement 2013 FIFA Congress Resolution to fight discrimination.” were Blatter’s remarks on his official Twitter account.

“It was right to suspend play,” said Roma coach Rudi Garcia. “We could have opened a shop with all the objects thrown from the stands.”

Gervinho later tweeted: “The most important is that @OfficialASRoma is qualified, the rest … #Forzaroma #FeyenoordROMA”

Rotterdam police had detained 17 locals and one Italian before the game.

Guingamp fans were forced to flee the stands before the final whistle after Kiev had gone 3-1 up and only found refuge when they reached taxis waiting to take them to safety.

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“We quickly understood that it was us they were after but it was very shocking because it is more and more common at football.” a Guingamp fan named Lydie told Radio France.

“We were scared, grabbed all our belongings and ran.” she added.

“I was scared for my life,” said another fan.

The Guingamp players and the match officials took shelter in the tunnel leading to the locker rooms while some of the Kiev players bravely helped stewards fight off the aggressors which led to calm after about ten minutes and the resumption of play.

“We are going to contact UEFA and report the circumstances of what happened,” said Guingamp president Bertrand Desplat.

“I don’t know how these important European football matches can continue to be organised in these conditions or are we waiting until there are people killed.” he added.

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