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Czech's black player ready to put Euro 2012 racist abuse behind him, says experienced worse

06/10/2012 09:44 EDT | Updated 08/10/2012 05:12 EDT
WROCLAW, Poland - Already a victim of racist abuse at the European Championship, the Czech Republic's lone black player said he's experienced worse and is ready to put the latest incident behind him.

Theodor Gebre Selassie was fully aware he was being racially abused by Russia fans at his team's opening game of the European Championship on Friday.

"I noticed that," Gebre Selassie told The Associated Press. "It was nothing extreme. I've experienced much worse."

The 25-year-old left back plays in the Czech league for champion Liberec and has been targeted by Sparta Prague fans in the past.

Gebre Selassie said he was ready to forget the incident involving Russia fans.

"Personally, I'm ready to put it behind me. I see no reason to discuss it with the media," he said, declining to give details about the abuse. He also said he didn't want to officially complain.

UEFA has pledged zero tolerance of discrimination during the three-week tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

To help achieve this, it asked the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) fans' network to send two monitors to each match to look for offensive banners, chants and behaviour in stadiums, and report to UEFA within 24 hours.

On Saturday, FARE said it identified verbal insults targeted at Gebre Selassie, whose father is Ethiopian.

Czech team spokesman Jaroslav Kolar said the team is not considering filing any official complaint and has not been informed by UEFA about any investigation.

Last year, the Czech football association's disciplinary committee investigated Sparta Prague, whose fans were suspected of abusing Gebre Selassie in a league match. In a statement to the committee, the player said he was absolutely sure he was targeted, but wasn't in favour of any punishment for Sparta.

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