Dein calls on Fifa to target Spain fans

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The Independent Football

Arsenal's vice-chairman, David Dein, believes football's world governing body, Fifa, should force Spain to play their next international match behind closed doors as punishment for the racist abuse directed at England players by Spanish supporters in Madrid last Wednesday.

Arsenal's vice-chairman, David Dein, believes football's world governing body, Fifa, should force Spain to play their next international match behind closed doors as punishment for the racist abuse directed at England players by Spanish supporters in Madrid last Wednesday.

Dein, who is a board member of the Football Association, also revealed that he was visited by the Spanish FA's head of public relations, but that the Spain coach, Luis Aragones, ignored his advice to send a written apology to Thierry Henry for referring to the Arsenal striker as a "black shit".

The Aragones incident last month served as a precursor to Wednesday night's events at the Bernabeu, when the Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole and Manchester City midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips were targeted by vehement abuse from thousands of Spanish fans.

"I was visited by the Spanish FA's head of public relations and I advised him that in my opinion it would be appropriate for Mr Aragones to send a handwritten letter of apology to Thierry and for him to volunteer to come over to shake his hand and say sorry in person," said Dein.

"Unfortunately nothing happened, and an opportunity to build bridges was not taken up. My view is that Fifa must take action, and the appropriate action in this case is for them to insist that Spain must play their next competitive international behind closed doors.

"Merely to fine an association does not hit the right target. There were several thousand spectators involved in the racist abuse."

The Spanish side Sevilla have been given an increased fine after their fans chanted racist abuse and set off fireworks during a Uefa Cup tie with Nacional Madeira in September. Uefa said it had raised the fine to €16,500 (£11,500) from €10,000, despite Sevilla's appeal that the racist abuse came only from a small number of fans.

Uefa's appeals body has also increased Sparta Prague's fine to €40,000 (£28,000) following racist abuse by the Czech club's fans directed towards Lyon players during a Champions' League match on 29 September.

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