Spanish club to blacken faces

The row about racism in Spanish football has taken a bizarre twist, with
La Liga club Getafe's president, Angel Torres, announcing that the whole first team would play their next home game, against Villarreal in 10 days, with their faces blackened with shoe polish, to "prove" that the club is not racially prejudiced.

The row about racism in Spanish football has taken a bizarre twist, with La Liga club Getafe's president, Angel Torres, announcing that the whole first team would play their next home game, against Villarreal in 10 days, with their faces blackened with shoe polish, to "prove" that the club is not racially prejudiced.

Torres's announcement followed ugly scenes in Getafe's home game against Barcelona on Saturday, during which the away team's striker, the Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o, was subjected to monkey chanting from a section of the crowd throughout the match. Eto'o, visibly upset by the chanting, was eventually booked for kicking the ball into the same area of fans as it ran out of play. Barcelona's Brazilian star Ronaldinho was also subjected to racial abuse in the match, which Barcelona won 2-1.

"It was a stupidity from four idiots who don't represent the fans of Getafe," said Torres, promising to ban those concerned if they are identified by security cameras. "But it brings shame on the whole club. It is a silly and disagreeable way of behaving." He consulted his players, who agreed to the unconventional protest, before making his announcement. Getafe, from the southern suburbs of Madrid, is one of three teams in the top league not to have any players from racial minorities in their squad.

The Spain manager Luis Aragones - who started the race row when he was overheard calling Arsenal striker Thierry Henry "a black shit" in order to motivate Henry's Spanish club-mate Jose Antonio Reyes during a training session for the national team six weeks ago - has revealed that his family asked him to quit his job over the affair. But he added: "I have never thought about resigning from my position... I think it is wrong that they [the English press] have been calling Spain racist, and calling me racist too."

The president of the Spanish FA, Angel Maria Villar, will appear before the Anti-Violence Commission next week to explain comments made by Aragones before Spain's friendly with England last month.

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