Santiago: San Marcos de Arica striker Emilio Renteria was for the second time in two weeks the target of Chilean fans` racist insults, this time prompting the referee to suspend a match against Deportes Iquique on Saturday.
Arica led 1-0 thanks to a Renteria header when referee Julio Bascunan suspended the match near the 70-minute mark due to Iquique fans` repeated racist abuse.
The referee had previously halted play for several minutes as the racist chants began following Renteria`s goal. Renteria, a Venezuelan, was visibly affected by the abuse.
Racism has rapidly become a serious issue in South American soccer, with authorities in Peru, Brazil and Argentina among those in the region trying to crack down on discrimination.
Deportes Iquique, on its official Twitter account, seemed to justify its fans` behavior, saying "Renteria celebrated the goal in front of Iquique fans," adding that it was after this that "he was insulted and the game was suspended."
Earlier this month, Chilean soccer`s governing body said the O`Higgins team, winner of the country`s Apertura league championship last year, would face sanctions after fans made racist chants and gestures against Renteria during a first division match.