Spanish FA fines Villarreal €12,000 for Alves’ incident

Villarreal have been fined €12,000 by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after the banana incident that subjected Barcelona’s defender Daniel Alves to racial abuse in a La Liga match on 27 April.

In a press release, the RFEF said Villarreal were fined for the supporter "committing an act of contempt or disregard concerning racial or ethnic origin towards an adversary".

The Brazil international had a banana thrown at him while taking a corner during Barcelona's 3-2 win at El Madrigal, Villarreal, and reacted by taking a bite from it before throwing it away.

“Even though, and as Villarreal mentioned, this was an isolated incident and the object thrown can easily be allowed in the stadium, the seriousness of the action and its clear discriminatory intention is an infraction to the RFEF's Disciplinary Code”, read the Spanish football governing body statement statement.

RFEF praises lifetime ban
Following the sanction a spokesman of the club told Reuters, "We have accepted the €12,000 fine".

Within two days of the incident Villarreal said they had identified the culprit, withdrawing his season ticket and giving him a lifetime ban. Spanish police then arrested the 26 year-old man, identified by local media as David Campaya Lleo.

On yesterday’s statement (7 May), the FA praised the club’s prompt reaction and lifetime ban for the perpetrator from entering the stadium as a “laudable and firm decision”.

Such manifestations deserve more
Since its announcement, the sanction has been challenged and disapproved by several sporting bodies and campaigners in and outside Spain.

Miguel Cardenal, President of the Spanish Superior Sports Council, told Spanish television that he believes the sanction is too small and will look at how it can be appealed from the outside.

“We think a manifestation [of racism] deserves a higher penalty. We must send a clear message to society.

“It seems absurd to enter into a discussion of whether there is more or less racism in Spanish football. The thing to do is have zero tolerance and combat racism with all our strength."

Fare Executive Director Piara Powar told CNN, “The fine is an appalling lack of leadership in the face of an incident that created global outrage”.

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