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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 19:59 GMT
Spain fined for racist chanting
England defender Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole was subjected to abuse from the Spanish crowd
Fifa has fined the Spanish Football Federation 44,750 after several England players were racially abused during last month's friendly in Madrid.

England duo Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole were the prime victims during the game on 17 November.

Fifa's disciplinary panel also took into account the racist abuse which surfaced the previous night at the Under-21 game between the two nations.

Spain were also warned that any repeat would result in heavier punishment.

In a statement, Fifa stated that Spain could face the prospect of playing behind closed doors or possible expulsion from one or several of their competitions.

We would have expected for the Spanish to be forced to play behind closed doors and warned about any incidents of racism at future games
Kick It Out's Piara Powar

But anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out feels the punishment does not go far enough.

"Our immediate reaction is this judgment doesn't go far enough," said Piara Powar, the group's director and spokesman.

"We would have expected for the Spanish to be forced to play behind closed doors and warned about any incidents of racism at future games."

Fifa had vowed in their statement that "the Spanish football association or their relevant representative team may be forced to play behind closed doors or face exclusion from Fifa competitions if these offences are repeated".

But Powar insisted: "That cuts little ice. This is no worse than a slap on the wrist.

"We are talking about one of the major European football nations here. This is not an impoverished football association.

The Spanish FA have been given a yellow card, not the red that many would have expected
PFA chief Gordon Taylor

"They could afford a heavier fine, they should have been made to play behind closed doors, which as a footballing nation is the worst that can happen. It kills the atmosphere and revenue is lost.

"The chanting that night was deeply offensive and demeans human beings.

"This is simply not good enough by Fifa. It shows some governing bodies do not have a concerted approach to dealing with racism."

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, admitted he was surprised at how lenient the punishment was.

"I think the general feeling in England will be one that the sanction is far too lenient, and I would be one of those who thinks that way," he said.

"The Spanish FA have been given a yellow card, not the red that many would have expected.

"But a point has been made by Fifa. The Spanish FA may consider themselves to have been lightly treated and they have an opportunity to get their house in order."

The English FA were not as critical as either Powar or Taylor but hinted they were disappointed with the punishment.

"The FA stated very clearly that it was ultimately Fifa's responsibility to determine what disciplinary action should be taken," said a statement.

"The FA must accept Fifa's decision to fine the Spanish FA 44,750.

"The FA is firmly committed to fighting racism in football at all levels of the game.

"We will continue to adopt a zero tolerance approach to any racist behaviour in English football and whenever any of our teams play abroad.

"Racism is the scourge of the game and it is the responsibility of all who care about football to do everything within their power to eradicate it."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Sport's Richard Fleming


Interview: Fifa spokesman Marcus Zeigler


Interview: Kick It Out's Pirah Powar




SEE ALSO
Is Spanish football racist?
21 Dec 04 |  Football
Spain coach faces racism inquiry
15 Dec 04 |  Internationals
Fifa probes Spanish racist chants
18 Nov 04 |  Internationals


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