Thursday, March 02, 2006

FIGHT RACISM IN SOCCER


Spanish first division club Real Zaragoza paid 9,000 euros ($10,728) on Tuesday for the club's fans due to their racist abuse at Barcelona's Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o last weekend.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said in an official statement that the club had 10 days to appeal against the decision.

It is not enough!

Racism in football/soccer has got to stop.

Last night Italy and Germany game played at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence as part of a campaign against racism in the sport. The players from the two national teams entered the pitch alongside children wearing a shirt bearing the words 'European Union against Racism' - both in Italian and German.

Just ahead of kick-off, the Archbishop of Florence, Claudio Magnago, read a message from Benedict XVI in support of solidarity and against racial intolerance.

"His Holiness offers cordial greetings and good wishes to the authorities, organisers, directors, athletes and everyone who will watch the match at the Franchi stadium," it said. "His Holiness expresses his appreciation for all the initiatives against racial discrimination promoted in order to strengthen the important educational function of sport in supporting solidarity and peace. His Holiness also encourages the common efforts for the promotion of love towards patient dialogue and mutual respect in every field of society. God bless every good purpose and project."



News from Spain reports the following.


Racism in Spanish football

Samuel Eto'o, Barcelona's popular striker, has criticised the 9000 euro fine imposed on Zaragoza football club for the racist monkey chants he was subjected to whenever he touched the ball by sections of the Zaragoza supporters last Saturday.

Eto'o was so upset by the continuous racist chants of the home fans, that 15 minutes before the end of the match he decided to abandon the game and started walking of the pitch towards the tunnel. TV camaras caught him say "Ya no juego mas" (I'm not playing anymore). But players from Barcelona and Zaragoza aswell as training staff from both teams and the referee managed to persuade the Cameroon player to continue, and justice seemed to be done when just a few seconds after the game was re-started Ronaldinho scored for the visiting team. After the match Eto'o, who has spoken out before against racisim at football matches, confessed to reporters that he had been devastated by the behaviour of the fans.

When asked today for his opinion about the fine imposed on Zaragoza for the behaviour of the club's fans, Samuel Eto't said that it was much too lenient and that punishments dealt out by the Spanish football association should go beyond fines and he insinuated that closing down the ground for a year could be one solution. Eto also said he thought that ordinary courts should deal with these kind of situations, rather than just the football association.

Eto told reporters that he suffered the same kind of racist chants last season in Zaragoza, and that while he understood that clubs cannot control all the fans present at a match, everyone in football should work together to try to erradicate the growing problem of racism in Spanish football.

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