England refuses match in Madrid
After players suffered racial abuse in 2004, England’s Football Association vetoes Madrid as a venue for a match against Spain.14 October 2008
LONDON -- England's Football Association vetoed Madrid as a possible venue for a proposed friendly against Spain because of the racist chants that met the team last time it played in the country's capital.
The Spanish federation was fined CHF 100,000 (EUR 65,003) when Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Jermain Defoe and Jermaine Jenas were racially taunted during a friendly at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in November 2004.
Spain won that match 1-0 and the teams did not play in Spain since.
"The FA were clear from the outset that we would not play the game in Madrid due to racial abuse we faced in 2004", FA director of communications Adrian Bevington said Monday. "This fixture is one of the friendly games that Fabio Capello requested to play, but, as yet, a venue is still to be confirmed and the contract still to be signed".
Luis Aragones, who resigned as Spain’s coach after leading the team to the European Championship title in June, was fined in 2006 for making racist remarks about France striker Thierry Henry — then a player for Premier League team Arsenal.
"It'd be nice to take the European champions on, but I think it's the right idea to have it in another stadium", England midfielder Steven Gerrard said.
[AP / Expatica]