FARE calls for leadership from the Spanish FA08 March 2006

Representatives from the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network, and FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation for all professional players, have attended a press conference organised by Spanish anti- racism campaigners, CECRA, to issue statements calling for action against racism in football from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

The press conference, which took place before the Spain v Ivory Coast game in Valladolid last Wednesday, was called following a succession of problems within Spanish football, the latest being during the Real Zaragoza vs. Barcelona game on 25th February where Barcelona forward Samuel Eto’o was subjected to mass monkey chanting and had peanuts thrown at him by sections of the Zaragoza supporters.

All three organisations expressed that should the RFEF fail to recognise that racism is a serious problem in Spanish Football then more black players would continue to be abused and eventually black players would not want to play in the Spanish Leagues.

Carlos Ferreyra Nuñez of the Spanish Coaliation against Racism (CECRA), called on the Spanish Players Union, AFE, to request that its members delay the start of games this weekend by five minutes, as a protest against racism in football and in an act of solidarity with Eto'o.

Howard Holmes, from English FARE partner Football Unites, Racism Divides, attended the press conference and commented,

“The terrible abuse of Samuel Eto’o last Saturday – and his reaction to it – may finally have woken some people up to the seriousness of the situation. Before the Spain v Ivory Coast game the teams lined behind a banner reading ‘Everyone Together Against Racism in Football’ and during half time the whole of the perimeter advertising was given to an anti- racism message provided by CECRA. The newspaper ‘Marca’ has also started a campaign against racism”.

“But to make real progress the Spanish Football Federation must recognise the seriousness of the issue and realise how the problem is damaging their game. Leadership is vital in the fight against racism and, once the present furore has passed, the situation in Spanish Football will continue to deteriorate unless the governing bodies face up to their responsibilities.”