Ivory Coast’s Fofana suspended by Union Berlin for refusing a handshake

AP , Thursday 26 Oct 2023

Union Berlin have suspended forward David Datro Fofana for a week after he refused to shake his coach’s hand during the Champions League loss to Napoli.

David Datro Fofana
Napoli's Amir Rrahmani is challenged by Union's David Datro Fofana, left, during the group C Champions League football match between Union Berlin and Napoli, at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. Photo: AP


Fofana walked past coach Urs Fischer’s outstretched hand on Tuesday after Fischer substituted him in the 70th minute of the 1-0 loss to the Italian champions. The two briefly made contact when Fischer appeared to jostle Fofana. It was Union’s ninth consecutive loss in all competitions.

Union spokesperson Christian Arbeit said Thursday that Fofana had apologized to Fischer and sporting director Oliver Ruhnert. Fischer said he hoped Fofana would learn from the incident and that “it’s about accepting decisions.”

Fofana is set to train separately from the team and will not be considered for selection against Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday or against Stuttgart in the German Cup on Tuesday, Arbeit said. He will rejoin the team starting Wednesday.

Fofana posted an apology to the team and supporters on Instagram previously and indicated he had wanted to stay on the field rather than be substituted.

“The gesture was not intended and in no way does it represent my attitude, all this was generated as a result of frustration because I wanted to continue helping the team to obtain a positive result,” he wrote.

Fofana joined Chelsea from Norwegian club Molde in January but made only four appearances for the English club last season.

The 20-year-old Ivory Coast forward was sent to Union on loan in July but hasn’t scored in 11 appearances for the German team, which is playing in the Champions League for the first time. Fofana is closing in on a year since his last goal in a competitive game, for Molde in the Norwegian league on Nov. 13.

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