Switzerland footballer Michel Morganella has been stripped of his Olympic accreditation after posting a racist message on social networking site Twitter.
Morganella posted the message, which insulted South Koreans and has since been deleted, after Switzerland were beaten 2-1 by the Asian country on Sunday (July 29).
“I made a huge mistake after a disappointing result,” said Morganella. “I wish to apologize to the people in South Korea and their team, but also to the Swiss delegation and Swiss football in general.”
The 23-year-old claimed that he felt provoked after receiving a torrent of abuse throughout the match against the Koreans. Morganella was booed throughout the match after he picked up an “injury” in a phantom challenge with Arsenal forward Park Chu Young.
After the match he made his feelings clear on Twitter writing: “I want to beat up all South Koreans! Bunch of mentally handicapped retards!” (“Je les tous Defonce Coréens, allez vous tous Bruler, bande de trisos!”)
Switzerland’s Chef de Mission Gian Gilli said that the player “discriminated against, insulted and violated the dignity of the South Korean football team and people.”
According to a spokesman for the Swiss Olympic team, Morganella has accepted the decision to strip him of his accreditation and has apologized to South Korea.
Morganella, who has played one senior fixture for Switzerland, will miss the final Olympic clash with Mexico.
The Palermo defender’s account on Twitter has also been deleted.
Although London 2012 is meant to be the first “social networking Games”, the use of the media platform has already landed a Greek athlete in trouble.
Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was not even allowed to travel to the Olympics for posting a racist message on Twitter, which mocked African immigrants.
Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has tried to encourage Olympians to communicate with fans via social networking, it has urged them to follow guidelines to avoid such pitfalls.
Insidethegames.bix is a blog published by the British Olympic Association. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors. Readers can contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org