How England tackled soccer racism
PARIS (AP)-About 20 years ago, English soccer was decimated by fan violence, in and outside of stadiums.
Now as England prepares to play Spain in an exhibition game on Wednesday, its top league is regarded as the wealthiest and best-marketed in the world, and the Spanish are under scrutiny for racism.
English authorities have mostly eliminated taunts and racial epithets from stadiums, refused entry to known troublemakers and done away with overcrowding by insisting on all-seat grounds.
Anti-racism activists say Spain has one of the bigger problems on the continent. Because England’s players endured racial taunts in Madrid in 2004, the location of this match was switched from Madrid to Sevilla.
The problem lingers.
Real Madrid’s radical fans, the Ultra Sur, made fascist gestures and shouted extremist slogans during a match against Osasuna on Jan. 18. In his match report, referee Alfonso Perez Burrull cited “extremist or radical symbolism,” and chants that made reference to “the gas chamber, death to Osasuna” and loyalty to fascism. (see more theredcard. Send suggestions for other initiatives to firstname.lastname@example.org .)