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The UCI has temporarily suspended German sports director Patrick Moster for shouting racist language during the men’s time trial Wednesday.
Moster was heard on television cameras shouting “get the camel riders” in German as national rider Nikias Arndt rode through the feed zone. Arndt was catching riders Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier of Eritrea and Azzedine Lagab of Algeria, who had started their time trials before him.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that its Disciplinary Commission has decided to provisionally suspend the German National Olympic Committee’s cycling team sport director Patrick Moster following his inappropriate words during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 men’s individual time trial,” a UCI statement said.
“Following the incident on Wednesday 28 July, the UCI Disciplinary Commission urgently examined the matter and considered that Mr Moster’s remarks were discriminatory and contrary to basic rules of decency, in violation of article 12.4.017 (d) of the UCI Regulations.
“This decision is without prejudice to the final decision of the UCI Disciplinary Commission or any action that may be taken by Mr Moster’s National Federation, the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer.”
The comments have been widely condemned, and Moster has issued an apology, but the German Olympic Federation [DOSB] announced Thursday that he would be relieved of his duties during the Olympic Games and sent home. Moster had been due to remain in Tokyo for the track events, which begin next week.
“This decision was preceded by a detailed consultation of the delegation management and a renewed hearing of the person concerned, in which both the process and the consequences for [the German team] were discussed,” a statement from the DOSB said.
"Hol die Kameltreiber! Hol die Kameltreiber! Komm!"
Patrick Moster, Radsporttrainer des Bundes Deutscher Radfahrer, versucht Nikias Arndt beim Olympischen Zeitfahren anzufeuern. Vor Arndt fahren ein Algerier und ein Eritreer. #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/UoDLVQWlWf
— Deutschlandfunk Sport (@DLF_Sport) July 28, 2021
A former rider, the 54-year-old Moster has been the sport director for the German federation [BDR] since 2012. Announcing his departure from Tokyo, the German Olympic Federation [DOSB] said it accepted his apology but that he had contravened the Olympic values.
“We remain convinced that his public apology for the racist remarks he made yesterday is sincere. With this derailment, however, Mr Moster violated the Olympic values. Fair play, respect, and tolerance are non-negotiable,” the head of the German Olympic Federation, Alfons Hörmann said.
The BDR has not issued any additional statement on the decision to send him home.
Lagab commented on the matter on his Twitter account Wednesday, saying: “Well, there is no camel race in the Olympics, that’s why I came to cycling. At least I was here in Tokyo 2020”.
He posted a further comment Thursday that said: “I’ve always wanted to promote myself as an athlete on social media, but never thought it would be that way. I had more aggressive racist comments before, but I’ve always preferred to deal with them on the spot, far from social media It’s such a shame it happens in the Olympics.”
I’ve always wanted to promote myself as an athlete on social media, but never thought it would be that way! I had more agressive racist comments before, but I’ve always preferred To deal with them on the spot, far from social media It’s such a shame it happens in the #olympics
— Azzedine Lagab (@AzzedineLagab) July 29, 2021
Some German riders were quick to condemn the language used by Moster, including Arndt.
“I am appalled by the incidents at today’s Olympic time trial and would like to distance myself clearly from the statements of the sporting director. Such words are not acceptable,” Arndt said on social media. “The Olympics and cycling stand for tolerance, respect, and fairness. I represent these values 100 percent and take my hat off to all the great athletes who have come from all over the world here in Tokyo.”
Rick Zabel, who is not competing at the Olympic Games, also criticized the comments and said the response from the German cycling and Olympic federations had been poor.
“Even if I am not at the Olympic Games myself, I am ashamed of the statements made today by the sports director of the BDR to two cyclists from Eritrea and Algeria and, above all, for the terse apology after the race,” he said.
“Personally, I cannot understand that after this behavior the BDR or DOSB did not have immediate consequences. During the European Football Championship, the finger is pointed at the football, but if an incident occurs in their own sport, everyone is silent. If we want to defend the Olympic values and anti-racism campaigns and also credibly represent them in the long term, then such an incident must not be tolerated.”