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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 March 2006, 14:58 GMT
Spain to get tough on racism
Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o
Eto'o threatened to leave the pitch when he was targeted by Zaragoza fans

Spain's government has drafted a law to help combat racism in sport that threatens tougher fines, points deductions and even relegation for football clubs in serious cases.

The recent abuse of Cameroon and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o by fans of Real Zaragoza served to highlight the seriousness of the problem, as the African Footballer of the Year has been constantly targeted by a section of Spanish fans.

"I hope we never have to use them but it will be a warning to everyone that they could be applied," Spanish sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky was quoted as saying in sports newspaper on Sunday.

"They would be the ultimate sanctions. To apply them we would have to be absolutely sure we were doing the right thing."

The proposals, which Lissavetzky hopes will become law in around six months, include fines of up to US$792,700 for individuals, and bans from attending sporting events.

Fines for clubs would reach a maximum of US$109,760.

Racism in Spanish football hit the headlines again last month when Barcelona striker Eto'o tried to walk off the pitch during a Primera Liga match, after being abused by Real Zaragoza fans.

The player was persuaded to stay and complete the game and Zaragoza were fined US$10,960 by the Spanish Football Federation.

A number of other clubs including Atletico Madrid, Malaga and Getafe have been fined over the last two years after fans directed racist abuse at visiting players.

In 2004 England's black players were targeted with abuse during an international friendly against Spain in the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.

Last Thursday Fifa announced tough sanctions for incidents of racism in football which included match suspensions, the deduction of points, relegation or elimination from competitions.

Confederations and national associations will be compelled to incorporate the measures and infringements could lead to a two-year exclusion from international soccer.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Friday the measures were "immediately applicable."


SEE ALSO
Racism rules effective now - Fifa
17 Mar 06 |  Football


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