Kevin-Prince Boateng has said he is dismayed that the football authorities in Germany did not deal more firmly with the Schalke chairman, Clemens Tönnies, after he made racist comments at a conference in early August.
Boateng, who played for the club between 2013 and 2015 and who is outspoken when it comes to racism in football, said he could not understand how Tönnies’ short break from football – he has decided to step down for three months – would help anyone.
Tönnies had told a conference that instead of increasing taxes to protect the environment the government should build power stations in Africa. “Then the Africans would stop cutting down trees and produce babies when it is dark,” the 63-year-old said.
He later apologised, saying “I am sorry for the comment on a large number of children in Africa. As chairman of the supervisory board of FC Schalke 04, I am 1,000% behind our club values. This includes the fight against racism, discrimination and exclusion” but now Boateng has criticised the German Football Federation (DFB) and his former club for not acting strongly enough.
“That should not happen to a person in his position,” he told Sport-Bild. “When it is said that it was just a slip-up – I just don’t know how that can be a slip-up? His three-month break, who does that help? No one. They had to set a better example there.
He added: “The opportunity was there to show everyone that something like that is not acceptable. Not in Germany, not in the Bundesliga and not in our club.”
Schalke’s five-member honorary committee cleared Tönnies of accusations of racism but said he had violated the club’s guiding principle of anti-discrimination while the DFB ethics commission said: “The phrase was deemed by media as being racist [and] rightly so.”
Boateng is currently with Fiorentina after spending last season on loan at Barcelona from Sassuolo.