Spain needs to take a strong stand on racism

Barcelona defender Dani Alves has described the fight to eliminate racism from football stadiums in Spain, in his own words, as “a lost war.”
Hamza Nkuutu
Hamza Nkuutu

Barcelona defender Dani Alves has described the fight to eliminate racism from football stadiums in Spain, in his own words, as “a lost war.”

The Brazilian international made the observations on Thursday, a day after he was racially abused by sections of Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu during the Spanish Cup semi-final first leg.

“I know that things are being done to fight against this, but it still takes place,” Alves said. “For me it is a lost war. I have been in Spain for 10 years and it has happened since the first day.”

“I didn’t consider leaving the pitch, but it did bother me,” Alves said. “It hasn’t only happened in the (Santiago) Bernabeu, but rather in all the stadiums we visit.

“You can be liked more or less by fans, but the people who go to the stadium should be there to support their team.”

The full back called for radical measures, including penalties against clubs, saying Spain should borrow a leaf from the way the English FA has succeeded in fighting racism inside stadiums.

“They should look at England,” he said. “There the measures are tough, but you need to look at things in order to improve. Manners do not exist in Spanish football.

In this era when the world has become a global village, there shouldn’t be any room for discrimination against anyone because of the colour of their skin, whether blue, black, yellow, white or red.

Alves’s case brings back memories of Samuel Eto’o, who suffered big time monkey chants when he was playing for Real Mallorca and Barcelona—he, on more than one occasion threatened to walk off the field in protest only to be dissuaded by his team mates.

It’s a shame that players go through hell in some major part of Europe, including Spain, Italy and Russia.

AC Milan Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch after he was racially abused by fans of Pro Patria during a friendly match. Boateng said he would walk off again in any competitive match under similar circumstances.

Alves said, he didn’t consider leaving the field but admitted the chants did hurt him, so does he think moaning and lamenting about the vice in the media will solve anything?

If only the like of Alves could take the example set by Boateng and walk off the field every time they’re racially abused, maybe it would force the authorities to come up with harsh measures to combat the vice.

The Spanish FA, just like their Italian counterparts don’t have strong measures in place to fight racism—they treat racial discrimination as though it’s part of the game, which shouldn’t be acceptable.

I know it will be extremely difficult or even impossible to eradicate racial discrimination of all sorts completely not only in Spain or Italy but even in England because it could be that that’s how God planned it when he created His people in different colors and shapes.


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