SOFIA (Reuters) - Levski Sofia have condemned the fans whose racist abuse of their own team's striker Bazile De Carvalho after a league match at home to Botev Plovdiv on Sunday has caused outrage in Bulgaria.
"We support Bazile and we're convinced that the colour of skin doesn't matter for our fans," Levski said in a statement signed by the club's management, players and national fan club.
The Guinea-Bissau striker was racially abused by what the club described as a small section of fans and stewards after the team's 3-1 win over Botev at the Georgi Asparuhov stadium.
"We hope that the conflict between De Carvalho and (separate) units from the crowd was caused by his failed attempt to join the club some time ago," Levski said.
De Carvalho came close to joining the 26-times Bulgarian champions in January 2011 but the deal fell through due to a shoulder injury.
Levski supporters on Sunday directed racist chants, made monkey noises and threw a banana at De Carvalho, who reacted angrily, sparking a melee in which one steward tried to attack the player before police restored order.
"We will do everything possible and will work to prevent such things happening with the crowd and our favorite team," the Levski statement added.
Local media reported on Monday that De Carvalho, 30, who scored the winner on his league debut against Chernomorets on August 11, would consider leaving the club after the incident.
But the striker, who joined Levski from Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the close season, resumed training after talking to the club's chief executive Ivo Tonev.
"(We) Levski players guarantee there's never been a split between Bulgarians and foreigners in the dressing room," Tuesday's joint statement said.
Levski are second in the standings with six points from two matches, level on points with champions Ludogorets.
Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Matt Barker