Ugly game

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The Independent Online

As bad, if not worse, than the racist chants directed at England's black players during this week's "friendly" in Spain has been the defensiveness of the Spanish football authorities and their failure to issue any condemnation. They even had the nerve to suggest that England had exaggerated the problem so as to distract attention from their abysmal perform- ance. Yes, they were outclassed on the pitch. But what was going on in the stands was a disgrace. The English football authorities should make clear that in the event of a repetition, anywhere in the world, the England captain will lead his team off the pitch. This should have happened on Wednesday - but, of course, abandoning the match makes a rather more eloquent statement if you are winning at the time.

As bad, if not worse, than the racist chants directed at England's black players during this week's "friendly" in Spain has been the defensiveness of the Spanish football authorities and their failure to issue any condemnation. They even had the nerve to suggest that England had exaggerated the problem so as to distract attention from their abysmal perform- ance. Yes, they were outclassed on the pitch. But what was going on in the stands was a disgrace. The English football authorities should make clear that in the event of a repetition, anywhere in the world, the England captain will lead his team off the pitch. This should have happened on Wednesday - but, of course, abandoning the match makes a rather more eloquent statement if you are winning at the time.

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