Dani Alves abuse: Spain must do more than laugh off racist actions of morons following banana incident

The idiots will keep coming back until Spain’s FA stands up to them

For a long time during the 1980s English football tried to make light of the abuse of black players by a moronic minority of spectators. After one 1984 cup tie between Portsmouth and Southampton, marred by the throwing of both coins and bananas at Southampton player Reuben Agboola, his manager, Lawrie McMenemy, said after the game: “We’ve got a good result; £4.50 in small change and 2lb of bananas.”

Ultimately, it became clear that humouring the morons did not make them go away. The problems were tackled properly by the Football League and by clubs with bans threatened and imposed.

A change of attitude followed and such abuse has now almost completely been eradicated from English grounds. But it required a commitment to take the problem seriously – something still to happen in Spain, on the evidence of Sunday’s episode at Villarreal, where Barcelona’s Dani Alves picked the banana up and ate it. He joked: “The potassium did me good. It gave me the energy to send over two more crosses and we scored from one of them.”

Barcelona teammate, Neymar, showing his support for Dani Alves Barcelona teammate, Neymar, showing his support for Dani Alves

He had beaten the idiots on the night because Barcelona won the game, coming from two goals down to win 3-2. But they will keep coming back until the Spanish FA does more than pay lip service – its president Angel Villar said last night that Spanish football was “against racism”, but there was no advance in what it might do to buck the ugly trend.

Thankfully Villarreal did act with greater urgency identifying the culprit thanks largely to the co-operation of the supporters seated around him. His club membership card has been taken from him and it’s likely he will be given a lengthy stadium ban.

It is understood the referee David Fernandez included the incident in his match report. This was more than the match official for the Spanish Cup final managed, despite racist chants aimed at Alves, Neymar and Real Madrid’s Pepe in that game. When the chanting was mentioned in radio commentary, one pundit dismissed it as “just four idiots” and the incident was soon forgotten.

Samuel Eto’o tried to walk off after receiving terrace abuse Samuel Eto’o tried to walk off after receiving terrace abuse (AFP)

There is no centrally organised campaign to stamp out racism in Spanish football and yesterday Alves’ greatest support came from a Twitter campaign under the hashtag banner #somostodosmacacos, which translates as “we are all monkeys”. Neymar and Sergio Aguero were among stars tweeting photographs of themselves eating bananas.

The show of solidarity might jar with English sensitivities but it at least ridiculed the perpetrator of the crime against Alves. “We won’t change the situation, I’ve had the same thing for 11 years in Spain, you have to just laugh at these idiots,” he said.

Samuel Eto’o tried to walk off when he was racially abused while playing in Spain in a game against Zaragoza. Each player has his own way of dealing with the situation but it is about time it was not down to the player to respond – it’s about time those who run the Spanish game took the lead with real measures that will actually make a difference. And if they can’t, Fifa should do it for them.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living