An Australian academic has called for soccer clubs to take a stand against racism after a young Caucasian fan painted his face black to pose with his favourite player.
The child blacked his face and cut his hair into a blonde mohawk before a game involving Australian stars Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka's old English club, Leeds United, in a clash against Bolton Wanderers.
He did so in tribute to his favourite player, the Senegalese striker El Hadji Diouf, with whom he posed prior to Tuesday's NPower Championship match - which Leeds won one-nil.
Pictures of the child wearing the black face paint, posing with Diouf, other Leeds players, Leeds manager Neil Warnock and police officers, has provoked criticism on social media sites.
"This is amazing. El Hadji Diouf with a child ... dressed up as El Hadji Diouf. A little bit racist too!!" one Twitter user posted.
Others, including some Leeds players, have defended the youngster.
Monash University media expert Andy Ruddock says there's nothing to be gained by demonising or criticising the child, his family or the players.
But he says it demonstrates that racism is still a "live issue" for soccer.
It comes after an Adelaide United A-league fan was banned last week for two years after he was accused of racially abusing Wellington Phoenix player Paul Ifill.
"There's nothing to be gained by demonising a child who clearly meant to pay tribute to his favourite player," Dr Ruddock told AAP on Thursday.
"What this story shows is how important it is that professional clubs and players take racism seriously and exercise some leadership in that regard.
"It is worth considering why the story has become so large in the context of broader anxieties about the resurgence of racism in football.
"The story isn't really about this little boy or Leeds but rather about the social responsibilities of football clubs."