Kick It Out calls for action over England abuse18 November 2004

FARE partner, Kick It Out, has called upon UEFA and FIFA to take far-reaching action against the Spanish Football Association to ensure that racial abuse on Wednesday 17 November 2004, is effectively dealt with in Spanish football.

The campaign are calling for Spanish participation in European footballing competitions to be suspended until the Spanish Football Association can satisfy Europe’s governing bodies that they are taking the problem of racism seriously.

Kick It Out observers and colleagues from Spanish NGO, CERCA, were at the game and will be sending witness statements to UEFA and FIFA, supplementing any reports made by the 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,
“English football can rightly be proud of the work we’ve done in tackling racism of the kind that was experienced last night. Despite problems that remain, particularly in areas of under-representation and exclusion, we’ve made significant progress in increasing education and understanding of the impact that monkey chanting, and other forms of abuse, can have on individual players and the communities from which they come.

We believe that the Spanish FA’s inept dealing of the remarks made by national coach Luis Aragones have contributed to the events of last night. Spain is the third largest commercial footballing market in Europe but the Spanish footballing authorities, the media and many of their fans didn’t even see the problem apparent last night. Aragones’ comments show us how far they and other major footballing nations in Europe need to go in working with our partners in the FARE network to ensure incidents such as last night do not occur again.

Unless the will to drive change is shown by the Spanish Football Association, UEFA and FIFA need to take unprecedented measures, which should include a suspension of all Spanish activity in European football and a commission lead by UEFA to put in place anti-racism measures. This is not a cycle of events to be dealt with simply by a fine and a slap of the wrist.”