Spanish referee criticises lack of will to deal with racism

  • Other Sport
  • Friday, 18 Feb 2005

MADRID: A leading Spanish referee has hit out at the failure of the country’s football authorities to deal with racist abuse and pledged his support to black players who walked off the pitch in protest. 

“Those people who should be facing up to this problem are not doing so and it is a big problem,” Primera Liga referee Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez was quoted as saying in Spanish sports daily Marca on Wednesday. 

“Of course I notice it when I am on the pitch. You hear everything there. And I'll tell you one thing, the day a black player decides to walk off the pitch I’ll go with him. No one is doing anything to find solutions to this problem.” 

Racist abuse from fans has become an increasing problem in Spain, with visiting black players regularly greeted with monkey chants and insults when they touch the ball. 

The Spanish Football Federation do not take action against clubs involved unless incidents are mentioned in the referee’s match report. 

The toughest punishment the federation have imposed so far has been a fine of 600 euros (US$778.6) on Atletico Madrid and Albacete after visiting black players were abused by home fans. Albacete’s fine was halved on appeal. 

Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o was abused throughout his side’s league game at Real Zaragoza at the weekend. Referee Fernando Carmona Mendez noted that the behaviour of the fans was “normal” in his report. – Reuters 

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