French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet responded Tuesday to Neymar's allegation that Marseille's Alvaro Gonzalez directed a racial slur at him during Sunday's match, saying racism in football "does not exist."
"When a Black guy scores a goal, the whole stadium is on its feet," Le Graet told BFM Business, as translated by beIN Sports. "This phenomenon of racism in sport, and in football in particular, does not exist at all or barely exists."
"It is a match that the entirety of France has anticipation for. It went badly," Le Graet added. "The behavior of the players was not exemplary. We deplore that. It is a shame. They were not able to keep their cool, nor give the show that we were expecting."
Neymar, who was one of five players shown red cards during a match rife with dubious incidents, was sent off for slapping Gonzalez in the back of the head during a melee in injury time. The 28-year-old Brazilian claimed match officials ignored him when he raised the issue of Gonzalez's slur earlier in the fixture.
"In our sport, aggressions, insults, swearing are part of the game, of the dispute. You can't be affectionate," Neymar wrote Monday in an Instagram post. "I understand this guy partly, all is part of the game, but racism and intolerance are unacceptable."
He added: "I accept my punishment because I should have followed the path of clean football. I hope, on the other hand, that the offender will also be punished. ... Racism exists. It exists, but we have to stop it. No more. Enough!"
PSG said in a statement the club "strongly supports" Neymar. Marseille defended their Spanish center-back, stating "Alvaro Gonzalez is not racist."