Football Unites has been pressing UEFA to look into racist abuse in Spanish football for twelve months. The claims come following the disgusting scenes that England’s black players endured against Spain in a friendly mid-week. Throughout the match, the Santiago Bernabéu crowd “Monkey Chanted” England’s Jermaine Jenas, Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Unanimous condemnation from footballers, the FA, media and politicians followed the match. Initially, the Spanish FA played down the behaviour of their fans, but was later forced to issue an apology after concerns from FIFA. A month previously, the Spanish FA refused to sanction their own coach after he publicly made racist comments towards Arsenal’s Thierry Henry. It is exactly this “Sweep it under the carpet” attitude that many believe has allowed the racists to gain such a strong foothold in Spanish football crowds.
Howard Holmes, coordinator of Football Unites, said,
“Ever since David Beckham moved to Real Madrid there has been a heightened interest in La Liga. It was evident that there were regular monkey noises coming from some sections of the Bernabeu, and Football Unites raised this as a matter of concern with UEFA back in October 2003.”
The English FA has lodged an official complaint with FIFA, who has jurisdiction over this match. FIFA have issued a statement expressing their concerns and will examine the incidents to see whether its code of ethics has been breached. Way back in July 2001, FIFA held an Extraordinary Congress in Buenos Aires about racism in football, during which far-reaching resolutions were passed.