Thursday December 2 2010
Diamoutene: 'It wasn't racism'

Souleymane Diamoutene insists “there was no racism,” but that Lecce ultras called him “a dirty Barese.”

The Mali international was surrounded by 10 angry fans during today's training session and they hurled abuse, even trying to tear the shirt off his back.

The Players' Association (AIC) released a statement condemning the incident and racist insults, but Diamoutene says the real story was different.

“There were no racist insults and racism has absolutely nothing to do with it,” said the defender.

“There were only personal insults based on my past playing for Bari. I am disappointed by what happened.

“They came towards me, putting their hands on me and trying to remove my Lecce jersey. They called me a dirty Barese.”

Lecce's arch rivals are fellow Puglia club Bari, where Diamoutene played on loan from Roma last season, making just three appearances.

“Despite what happened, I am relaxed. The only problem is that I was unable to train properly with my teammates today. I went to the gym instead, for a bit of peace and quiet.

“I am happy at Lecce. I wanted to stay here and I still do. Obviously all evaluations must be made with the club, including today's incident.”

Lecce released a statement confirming they were “disconcerted by the fact ultras have come to this, especially with a player who has always been professional.”

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