Barca striker calls for tough action against racism

1st March 2006, Comments 0 comments

1 March 2006, BARCELONA — FC Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o, who has been the object of racist taunts from fans, has called for "exemplary sanctions" in order to rid Spanish football of racism.

1 March 2006

BARCELONA — FC Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o, who has been the object of racist taunts from fans, has called for "exemplary sanctions" in order to rid Spanish football of  racism.

Eto'o, who is from Cameroon, tried to walk off the pitch in a game against Zaragoza on Saturday after a sector of the home fans made ape-like howls every time he touched the ball.

"Maybe they should close the stadium for a year," he said.

He was prevailed upon by team mates and the coach to continue playing in the game, which Barcelona won 2-0.

Eto'o scoffed at the EUR 9,000 fine imposed on Zaragoza.

"The club cannot control them (the fans). We have to look for solutions among us all, and let's see what the courts can do," said Eto'o, considered the world's best player from Africa.

He noted that it was the second straight year he has been subjected to the abuse in the Zaragoza stadium. And he added that discrimination based on skin-colour is not limited to the world of sports.

"It takes place in many other contexts," he said.

He said he was glad he returned to the playing field after being encouraged to do so by Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard.

"The skipper came to me and said the only way to shut them up was to beat them," he said. "And in the end, we won."

Jaime Lissavetzky, secretary of state for sports of Spain's Socialist government, has called for "the greatest firmness possible in sanctions" over the racist insults levelled at Eto'o.

He noted that professional soccer had been fighting against the blight for over a year.

A year ago, the soccer federations approved the Protocol of Action against Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance, which sets out 31 measures for dealing with this problem on three levels: sensitivity, identifying those responsible and imposing more serious penalties.

The head of Spanish soccer's governing body pledged in January that every effort would be made to keep intolerance and xenophobia out of the national pastime.

"The (Spanish soccer federation) has always strived for a more honourable sport, free from violence and inequalities. Our aim is to eradicate racism, xenophobia and bad behavior, and we will spare no effort to achieve this goal," federation chief Angel Maria Villar said in a statement.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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