Rakuten to Protest against FC Barcelona over Racist Remarks


Tokyo, July 7 (Jiji Press)--Rakuten Group Inc. <4755> CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has indicated a plan to lodge a protest against Spanish football club Barcelona over racist remarks or acts by players belonging to the club during their past visit to Japan.

The Japanese cybermall operator founded by Mikitani is a sponsor of the professional football club competing in the top division of the Spanish league system.

The racist remarks or acts by the players, including French forward Ousmane Dembele, “were extremely disappointing,” Mikitani said on Twitter on Tuesday.

“Given that we’ve backed FC Barcelona as a sponsor as we supported the club’s philosophy, such comments are absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances. I’ll lodge a formal protest against the club and seek its views (on the matter).”

Dembele is under fire for a video taken during a Japan tour of the club in 2019 that has recently surfaced online. In the video, filmed in a hotel room by Dembele, he zoomed in on the faces of Japanese hotel staff members and is heard making fun of their appearances and language. It also shows fellow France and Barcelona player Antoine Griezmann laughing in response to Dembele’s comments.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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