Feyenoord is disappointed that the club has been associated with racism in connection with an incident during the home game against AS Roma. An inflatable banana was thrown on to the pitch during the Europa League match, which led to an allegation of racism, a connection that Feyenoord rejects. ‘The bananas were part of a fun activity by our supporters, who also used beach balls, for instance,’ says general director Eric Gudde. ‘We did everything we could to convince UEFA of this.’
The inflatable bananas are part of supporter-led activities that are often held at Feyenoord games to create a good atmosphere at the stadium. The object has often been seen in the stands at De Kuip since the nineteen eighties, following the trend set by such clubs as Manchester City. It has been used in the supporters’ ‘bring back the bananas’ campaign in recent years.
‘Feyenoord is a multicultural club,’ says Gudde. ‘That can be seen throughout our organisation, from the first team to the youth academy. It is very disappointing that an association is now being made with racism. We have shown UEFA through photos and video footage that the inflatable banana is part of the activities organised by our supporters. During the away match at AS Roma, for instance, there were beach balls and inflatable bananas bouncing around the away section in the twelfth minute, while a couple of years ago, in the home match against Heracles, more than a hundred of these articles could be seen in the stands. This has been a regular occurrence at Feyenoord over the past decades, purely intended as a fun activity to create a good atmosphere. So it is not appropriate that Feyenoord is now being associated with racism because of those inflatable bananas.’