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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 20:46 GMT
Aragones fined for Henry remarks
Luis Aragones
I'm obliged to motivate my players to get the best results
Luis Aragones
Spain coach Luis Aragones has been fined 3000 euros (2,060) for racist remarks made about Thierry Henry.

It had been expected that Aragones, 66, would be fined in the region of 22,000 or even lose his job but he has been fined the equivalent of a day's wages.

The Spanish Football Federation at first declined to take action against Aragones, but was then requested to do so by Spain's anti-violence commission.

Aragones made the remarks to Arsenal and Spain's Jose Reyes last October.

He insisted the comments were meant to motivate the Spanish player, by comparing him favourably with club-mate Henry, and were not intended to be offensive.

"I never intended to offend anyone, and for that reason I have a very easy conscience," the Spain boss said at the time.

"I'm obliged to motivate my players to get the best results.

"As part of that job, I use colloquial language, with which we can all understand each other within the framework of the football world."

Aragones has apologised publicly to Henry, although not personally, for any offence caused by his comments, which were captured by a television crew.

The situation in Spanish football at the moment is desperate
Kick It Out spokesman Leon Mann

The Spanish Football Federation - which has now given its coach 10 days to appeal - also apologised formally last year.

The size of the fine has been attacked by anti-racism campaigners.

Kick It Out spokesman Leon Mann said on Tuesday: "We expected very little from the Spanish Football Association and are not surprised by this pitiful fine.

"The only positive is there's finally been a recognition that what Aragones said was racist, despite his protests.

"Questions have to be asked as to why the fine is only 3,000 Euros when it took such a lengthy process to get to this decision, and why someone found guilty of a racist comment is still in a job.

"Imagine what would have happened if Sven-Goran Eriksson had come out and said the same."

Kick It Out believes racism is a problem in Spain, where Aragones took the national job in July 2004, taking over from Inaki Saez.

"The situation in Spanish football at the moment is desperate," added Mann.

"The only other positive is that games are now being stopped and some action is being taken as a first step, but the campaigners on the ground are still being ignored."

In November, one month after Aragones made his comments, England played a friendly in Madrid and the visitors wore anti-racism tops in the warm-up.

Aragones (right) with Jose Reyes
Aragones (right) said he was trying to motivate Reyes

But black players Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips still received racist abuse from the crowd, for which the Spanish FA was fined 44,750.

But the director general of Spain's Upper Sports Council, Rafael Blanco, dismissed the possibility of a link between that abuse and Aragones' comments.

Blanco said: "Luis is not responsible for the fact that there have been outbreaks of racism in stadiums.

"That would be simplifying things and a big injustice.

"He made some comments that are inappropriate for his position and as the law stipulates, it has to be treated by the appropriate bodies."

Just before that match, Aragones also made a controversial remark about Britain's military history, saying he "remembered the colonies".

But the president of the Spanish FA's competitions committee, Alfredo Florez, said that comment was "not of great seriousness".



SEE ALSO
Family urged Aragones to resign
01 Dec 04 |  Internationals
Spain fined for racist chanting
21 Dec 04 |  Internationals
Spanish fine disappoints Wenger
23 Dec 04 |  Arsenal


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