Spanish FA defend Bernabeu fans

The Spanish Football Federation insist they will have the final say on where the planned friendly against England will be played - and have defended the "fantastic" Bernabeu supporters.

England staff are mindful of the racism problems several players experienced at Real Madrid's home stadium on the last occasion they visited Madrid four years ago, when Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Jermain Defoe and Jermaine Jenas were abused.

The Spanish federation (RFEF) were eventually fined £45,000 by Fifa, and the Football Association have insisted they are unwilling to play in Madrid on this occasion.

Even though the Spanish officials have stressed they decide where the fixture should take place, there is no prospect of the FA agreeing to England taking on a match in the Spanish capital.

The FA have confirmed coach Fabio Capello has personally requested a match against the European champions which is likely to take place in February.

The Spaniards have noted the FA's position over the location for the proposed match, and RFEF spokesman Jorge Carretero told PA Sport: "We are aware of their worry.

"The FA were clear that they wouldn't play the game in Madrid because of the racist attacks that they were subject to in 2004.

"But the fans that go to the Bernabeu are fantastic as they are in the whole of Spain.

"We're not thinking about an alternative location because at the moment there is no contract that is signed.

"If we reach an agreement then the game will be played where the Spanish federation thinks is best."

Carretero stressed: "In all likelihood there will be a game, we want to play each other.

"But we haven't signed anything. There is no contract whatsoever that we will play each other.

"It's only when we sign a contract that we will decide where the game will take place."

The fixture is expected to be played on Wednesday, February 11, the only remaining Fifa international date still to be filled.

Given it was only last month that Emile Heskey was singled out for racist abuse in Croatia, the FA are keen to take a stand on such matters and have made it a condition of the game that it will not be held at the Bernabeu, which is Spain's traditional, although not permanent, home.

Capello was coach of Real Madrid until last year but agrees with his current employers that the match should be played at a different location.

FA director of communications Adrian Bevington said: "This fixture is one of the friendly games that Fabio Capello requested to play. But as yet, a venue is still to be confirmed and the contract still to be signed.

"However, from the outset, the FA, with Fabio, were clear we would not play the fixture in Madrid due to the incidents of racial abuse we faced last time.

"Fabio is totally supportive of this fixture."

With Madrid ruled out by FA officials, Seville and Valencia would appear the most likely alternative cities for the game.

The FA have also been keen to stress no venue is in place, aware that a significant number of fans will want to make their travel arrangements.

Rather than see the problem simply move from one city to another, the FA have vowed to work closely with the RFEF on a number of anti-racism measures before the proposed fixture, which both bodies are expected to support.

Providing crowd problems - which reared their head in a much milder form at Wembley on Saturday - can be successfully combated, the fixture would be an exciting one for England.

Capello regards Spain as the best international side in Europe at the moment, and worthy winners of Euro 2008.

They are captained by Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas and beat Estonia 3-0 on Saturday in their latest World Cup qualifier.

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent