Spanish national coach in race slur07 October 2004

Spanish national team coach, Luis Aragones is in hot water after referring to Thierry Henry using racist language. It was during a training session whilst motivating Henry’s Arsenal team-mate Reyes, that Aragones refered to Henry as “That black sh*t”. Unfortunately for Aragones, the session was being filmed with his words picked up by the microphones. The coach’s comments were broadcast in local station Antenna 3’s afternoon news programme.

Aragones later apologised. He tried to explain away his blunder by stating, “I am obliged to motivate my players to get the best results. As part of that job, I use colloquial language, with which we can all understand each other within the framework of the football world.”

However, campaigners feel that such “colloquial language” has no place at all in football, in whatever context. Piara Powar, of FARE partner Kick It Out said:
“Whatever the context, just using those words together is totally unacceptable. To see it coming from the national manager of one of our leading national sides in Europe is pretty disgusting. If he can abuse one of the best athletes of colour in Europe, who is at the top of his game and respected, in this way, then what hope is there for the rest of us?”

Members of the FARE network will be contacting UEFA and FIFA regarding the matter.