Fury grows over Spain fans' racist chants

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The Independent Football

Britain's Minister for Europe Denis McShane today demanded a "forthright apology" from those responsible for Spanish football after England's black players were subjected to racist chants at last night's friendly match.

Britain's Minister for Europe Denis McShane today demanded a "forthright apology" from those responsible for Spanish football after England's black players were subjected to racist chants at last night's friendly match.

Players Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips were taunted by Spanish fans during England's 1-0 defeat in Madrid.

It was the second consecutive night in which England's black players were targeted after racist insults were hurled at the Under-21 match in Alcala de Henares on Tuesday.

Britain's Sports Minister Richard Caborn condemned the racial chanting, saying he was "absolutely appalled" by the reaction of the crowd.

He called on football governing bodies Fifa and Uefa to investigate the abuse.

Today, Mr McShane rang his counterpart in Spain to tell him of the disgust felt throughout Britain.

He said: "I spoke to my opposite number, the Spanish minister for Europe this morning, and said there was outrage across Britain at the racist chants at yesterday's football match.

"I told him that our Minister of Sport - with full backing of every MP and every football fan - would be contacting Spain's Sports Minister and said I hope there would be the most forthright apology from those responsible for football in Spain.

"My opposite number told me that any racism in football was unacceptable."

Last night, Mr Caborn told the Press Association: "I was absolutely appalled by the reaction of the crowd and I will be writing to the Spanish sports minister to express my outrage at their behaviour.

"I would like to see him ask the Spanish FA to condemn the scenes we witnessed tonight in the Bernabeu.

"I also expect Fifa and Uefa to fully investigate the issue. There is no place for racism in football or modern society and I strongly believe that action needs to be taken at the highest level."

The friendly match was overshadowed by the issue of racism before it even started after Spain's coach Luis Aragones lost his cool when being questioned about being caught on camera referring to Thierry Henry as "a black s***".

Pressure will now grow on Uefa and Fifa to take action and the incidents could be picked up by International Olympic Committee members who are to choose the hosts for the 2012 Games between Paris, London, Madrid, New York and Moscow.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "The behaviour of the Spanish fans last night was absolutely despicable.

"Racism and racist abuse have no place in the modern world not least in international football and sporting competition and this shameful display cannot be tolerated.

"Uefa and Fifa must act immediately to stamp this out."

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