Eto’o – FARE calls for action from the Spanish Football Federation27 February 2006

The Football Against Racism in Europe network are convinced that the problem of racism in Spanish football will continue to escalate unless the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) recognise the seriousness of the problem.

The fears come following a succession of problems within Spanish football, the latest being during the Real Zaragoza vs. Barcelona game on Saturday 25th February, when Barcelona forward Samuel Eto’o was subjected to mass monkey chanting and had peanuts thrown at him by sections of the Zaragoza supporters.

The African Player of the Year tried to leave the field 14 minutes before the end of the match but was persuaded to play on by his team-mates and manager.

With the Spanish National team due to play African World Cup qualifiers the Ivory Coast in a friendly game in Spain on Wednesday, FARE are calling on the RFEF to signal their serious intention to tackle racism in Spanish Football.

At a recent UEFA conference on the issue held in Barcelona at the beginning of February, Angel Maria Villar, President of the RFEF, closed the conference by saying the problem should not be given too much attention, stating “We shouldn't make a mountain out of a molehill”.

FARE believes that this attitude is leading to escalating levels of abuse across the country.

Piara Powar, Director of the Kick It Out campaign in the UK, said,
“The Spanish Football Federation must, as a matter of urgency, set out clear pathways detailing how they will tackle this issue. For one of the most accomplished black players in world football – voted African Footballer of the year – to be racially abused in one of the biggest leagues in the world is worrying for the game.”

Barcelona and Brazilian forward, Ronaldinho, backed his team mates stand on the issue and called on the game to up it’s efforts against racism,

“I would have gone with Eto'o after hearing the insults he received throughout the game. This kind of thing cannot continue. We have to try and abolish these things from football pitches.”

Zaragoza were fined 600 euros by the RFEF last season after a section of their fans directed racist abuse against Eto'o, whilst earlier this month, Zaragoza were fined a similar amount after some of their fans directed racist insults at Real Betis' Brazilian forward Robert.