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
Monday 28 April 2014
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
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 (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.
Latest in Sport
Petr Cech demands talks over Chelsea future as Thibaut Courtois begs him to stay – as mentor
Angel Di Maria: Manchester United to push ahead with £50m move for Real Madrid winger
Marcos Rojo to Manchester United: Sporting Lisbon confirm deal with Nani heading back to Portugal on loan
Arsenal player ratings vs Besiktas
Besiktas vs Arsenal player ratings: Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Calum Chambers - who was the Gunners star man?
- 1 The way the police have treated Cliff Richard is completely unacceptable
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson police shoot and kill second young black man
- 4 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 5 Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermeister and vodka
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head