THE MUMBAI CITY FC HEAD COACH has accused Turki Al Khudhayr, the referee in their match against Bengaluru FC at Kanteerava, of racist behaviour towards one of his players.
Mumbai City earned a hard-fought victory against defending ISL champs Bengaluru FC last night. But Jorge Costa, the MCFC gaffer, was far from happy about the game; and the referee Mr Al Khudhayr, who hailed from Saudi Arabia, was at the centre of his displeasure.
In the post-match press conference, Costa said the referee had singled out the Islanders' Gabonese striker Serge Kevyn and racially abused him,
"During the game, the referee made some gestures against Kevyn, calling him a monkey. These are certain things in which I cannot close my eyes."
Turki Alkhudayr has been refereeing in senior level professional football matches since 2015 and officiated a match in the Asian Cup 2019 in UAE. Last year, Mr Al Khudayr made headlines because of some of his controversial decisions during the Persija vs Home United match in AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal semi-final (second leg).
It remains to be seen what steps are taken by the AIFF and ISL organizers FSDL to address this matter.
This is not the first instance of allegations of racist behaviour against a referee by the officials of an Indian club this season. During the Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup in Bangladesh, Chennai City FC alleged that referee Lakmal Weerakoddy had made racist remarks at their player Katsumi Yusa.
UPDATE: Soon after Jorge Costa's initial statement, Mumbai City FC approached the All India Football Federation to officially lodge a complaint against referee Turki Al Khudayr. The Federatron subsequently issued a statement saying the AIFF Disciplinary Committee would investigate the matter.