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More problems for the London Olympics

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More problems for the London Olympics | Thaiger
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Swiss Olympian kicked off team after racist tweet
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: A Swiss football star was kicked off the men’s Olympic team Monday after sending out a tweet deemed to be racist, sports officials said. It comes just days after a Greek triple jumper was excluded from the Olympics after she issued a tweet which was also deemed to be racist.

Michel Morganella, a footballer who was included on the Swiss Olympic team as a defender, made comments on his Twitter account which were considered to be discriminatory against South Koreans. The tweet, which was in French, told Koreans to “burn themselves” and called them a “bunch of tards”. He has since deleted his account.

In response to the offensive tweet, the Swiss Olympic Association decided, in consultation with the Swiss Football Association, to exclude Morganella from the Swiss delegation.

“Michel Morganella has made extremely offensive remarks on his Twitter channel, with the South Korean population and the South Korean football team most deeply offended and discriminated against,” the Swiss Olympic Association said in a statement late Monday evening. “We condemn these statements, which grossly contradict the Olympic Charter, the IOC and the Ethics Charter of the Swiss Olympic Association.”

In response to the decision, Morganella, who plays for the Swiss team, released a statement of his own, saying, “After the disappointing result and the responses from Korea, I’ve made a big mistake. I’m truly sorry for the people of South Korea, for the footballers, but also for the Swiss delegation and Swiss football in general. Of course, I bear the consequences.”

Any further penalties against him will be decided later.

Just days earlier, on Wednesday last week, which was two days before the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was excluded from the Olympics as well after she tweeted: “With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will be eating food from their own home.”

In response to that tweet, The Democratic Left, a political party in Greece, said: “Racist humor and ‘jokes’ concerning human lives are not tolerated by the Greek society, can not thrive in Greek athletics. The least the Greek Olympic Committee can do now is to remove Ms Voula Papachristou from the Olympic Games. Watching the Olympics on TV screen, she could do as many vile ‘jokes’ as she wants through the social media. But for sure, she can not represent Greece in London.”

Papachristou later apologized in a statement on her Twitter account. “I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account,” she said. “I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach on human rights.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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