Tuesday, April 12, 2016 8:37 am
Marko Nikolic, the coach of Slovenian league leaders Olimpija Ljubljana, called his Nigerian player a black idiot, but then quickly apologised.
His apology will make him not to lose his job over the slur.
Olimpija were trailing 1-0 at home to Zavrc on Sunday when Nigerian Blessing Eleke scored a stoppage-time equaliser and embarked on an exuberant celebration.
Nikolic, 36, said he made “an emotional reaction” as Eleke’s celebrations meant his side had less time to find a winner.
“I never intended to offend the player racially or otherwise and I don’t want to be associated with intolerance, racism or discrimination of any kind,” Nikolic told the club’s official website (www.nkolimpija.si).
“I spoke to Eleke and he said he understood my reaction because emotional outbursts of this kind can happen.
“I apologise for my reaction generated solely by the rush to score the winning goal after getting a 92nd-minute equaliser and I thank the team for not judging my act as racist.”
Olimpija, who have never won a league title in either Slovenia or the former Yugoslavia, are two points ahead of champions Maribor with seven games remaining.
Olimpija president Milan Mandaric, the former Leicester City and Portsmouth owner, said: “The club distances itself from all individual acts which contravene our philosophy and condemns such acts strongly.
“However, after careful consideration and talks with Nikolic and Eleke, we have come to the conclusion that the coach did not target the player’s race.
“It was an emotional reaction generated by an overwhelming desire to win the match.
“There is no excuse, but due to the circumstances, we have refrained from making a decision which would have affected the career of a young and talented coach who has a bright future.”