FARE calls for action over England abuse19 November 2004

The Football Against Racism in Europe network (FARE) has called upon FIFA to take far-reaching action against the Spanish Football Association to ensure that Wednesday’s racial abuse is effectively dealt with. The network is calling for the suspense of Spanish participation in footballing competition until the Spanish Football Association can satisfy Europe’s governing bodies that they are taking the problem of racism seriously.

Observers from FARE partner Kick It Out and colleagues from Spanish NGO, CERCRA, were at the match and will be sending witness statements to UEFA and FIFA, supplementing any reports made by the English Football Association.

The campaign believes the extent and levels of racist chanting was unprecedented at an international match in recent times and would have warranted the match being stopped by the referee or the England players walking off the field of play.

Piara Powar, Director of Kick It Out, said,
“We believe that the Spanish FA’s inept dealing of the remarks made by national coach Luis Aragones have contributed to the events of Wednesday evening. Spain is one of Europes biggest footballing nations but the Spanish footballing authorities, the media and many of their fans have turned a blind eye to racism.

Aragones’ comments show us how far they and other major footballing nations in Europe need to go in working with our partners in the Football Against Racism in Europe network to ensure incidents such as last night do not occur again.

The onus for action is now firmly with FIFA. This will be a crucial test of their intention to tackle racism in football seriously.”

Michael Fanizadeh from FairPlay-vidc, FAREs co-ordination office in Vienna, calls for action,

“What we need are strong efforts of those who are responsible for the game in Spain. FARE will stepping up efforts and will be calling on Spanish anti-racist activists, supporters, youth workers, the Spanish government, league and the FA. We need to see action on all levels of the game, we should unite in the fight against racism in Spanish football.

But we want also see measures of the Spanish Football Association and FIFA, who were responsible for organizing this friendly match on Wednesday.”