FIFA punishment too lenient22 December 2004

Anti-racism campaigners have expressed their severe disappointment following the decision by FIFA to fine the Spanish FA 100,000 Swiss Francs (€65,000), after the recent racism during the Spain – England friendly in Madrid.

England duo Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole were the main victims during the game on 17 November, suffering “Monkey chants” throughout. FIFA’s disciplinary panel have also factored in the abuse England’s under-21 team suffered on the previous night. FIFA have warned Spain that any repeated abuse would result in heavier punishments.

FARE partner, Kick It Out, feel that the punishment does not fit the offence and would have expected to see the Spanish forced to play behind closed doors. Their next game is due to be against San Marino.

Kick It Out Director Piara Powar commented,
“The decision to fine the Spanish FA beggars belief. This sanction is simply not proportionate to the offence. FIFA have missed a key opportunity to send out a meaningful message to world football that racism and abuse is unacceptable.

Given the nature and scale of the abuse that took place, with human beings degraded in the worst possible way, one would have expected a decision that forced the Spanish team to play behind closed doors and for the Spanish FA to demonstrate how they will address their problems.

Instead we have the world governing body making contradictory and absurd comments about the need to parade guilty fans but not exercising its legitimate powers. This will be seen as football failing in its responsibility to society.”