Depressing news

Spain’s commitment to racism “will never end”

Dani Alves 


The world can be a scary place. Things are always changing as the old ideals are thrown away or re-jigged – sometimes it seems better just to stay in the house and cower behind the sofa waiting for death.

Unfortunately, there are also some things that will NEVER change, there will always be old ideals that are never thrown away or re-jigged – sometimes it seems better just to stay in the house and cower behind the sofa waiting for death.

Even more unfortunately, one of the things that shows no sign of changing any time soon is the huge problem of racism in Spain. There are some thoroughly depressing words from Barcelona’s Dani Alves after the jump…

Speaking to Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo about the racism in Spain, the Brazil full-back said:

“Unfortunately, I have learned how to live with it. Every match the crowd goes after me. They insult me, call me monkey.”

“I don’t give it a lot of importance. I think you are only offended if you make a big deal about it. My family gets sad. They complain, but I try to distance myself from it.”

And as if that wasn’t upsetting enough, Alves finishes with this stark message:

“They punish the clubs sometimes, but it’s uncontrollable. It will never end.”

The Spoiler’s good mood this morning is rapidly disappearing… Terrible. Sort it out, Spain.

35 responses so far
  • gaptooth // February 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    their league will never be as marketable and as profitable as the premier league, and in yrs to come that will take its toll on the bigger clubs like barca and madrid

    sad to read , especially as they have some great black players in their league who dont deserve that treatment in this day and age

  • Matt // February 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I think its appalling that in this day and age stuff like this is still happening. Its not just in Spain either, it is common place in Italy and Eastern Europe as well.

    For once Europe should follow the example of the English and stamp racism out of Football.

  • Varun // February 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Calling someone a monkey makes you a racist?

    Alves is very divisive, he dives a lot, riles up players staff, he is always antagonizing someone.

    Those teams themselves have colored players, its a ploy to unsettle a player.

    Senna was Brazilian & a colored player who was 2nd most important player for Spain in Euro 08.
    Thats 2 taboos rolled up in 1 i would say ain’t it.

    Spain may have problems but so does every other country.

    Germany is a better example, England is still racist.
    Openly racist that too.

    All those articles and comments they filled up the World Cup news about Germany and their players not being Germany enough and from different countries such as Turkey,etc & had a tone of ridicule in it.

    England has had multicultural population for 40 years now where are the ethnic-Asian players in the national squad?

    England as example to Europe, riiiight!

    Grow up, Europe is actually moving ahead, you are going backwards.

  • Chicha Rita // February 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Varun…PLEASE tell me you intend to stay in whatever backwater community you live. Stupidity doesn’t need to travel.

    “Colored” people…a “taboo”???? Are you for real..or just hopelessly ignorant??

  • Linda // February 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Wow. Varun, you seem to be so entrenched in a racist culture that you aren’t even slightly aware of how racist your comment is. I’ve no idea where you live but…wow.

  • t10n // February 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Calling someone a monkey makes you a racist?


    England has had multicultural population for 40 years now where are the ethnic-Asian players in the national squad?

    Can you name an ethnic-Asian player that is good enough to play for England?

    Its not racist the England squad selection is based purely on talent. The lack of english asian players is more down to asian culture.

    How many racist incident in English football can you think of in the past 10 years? Out of them all of them have been isolated incidents that were quickly and efficiently dealt with. England is miles ahead of other european countries in the fight against racism.

  • David // February 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    You should check this also

  • Matt // February 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Varun, all those words you used to describe Alves could be used to describe Ronaldo and I’m sure he doesn’t get the same amount of stick because he’s Portuguese. The points I was making about Europe were in reference to the treatment of Balotelli in Italy and clubs like Zenit having a policy not to sign black players.

    The reason there are no Asians playing for England is that football is not traditionally an Asian played sport. If in turn you were to raise a point about Asians playing cricket for England that would be a different matter entirely. Although as t10n points out with football that is also purely judged in talent alone.

  • Charles // February 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Matt Ronaldo gets worse treatement from the spanish than Alves does because he is Portuguese. All you hear during away matches for Real Madrid is “these portuguese are a son of a bitch” or “these portuguese die in hell” in spanish to all the portuguese players on real marid from mourinho to carvalho.

  • elcynico // February 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    There are some fine examples on here of why racism is still a problem after all these years. Makes you proud to be a human being doesn’t it?

  • This guy // February 10, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Ok well honestly it sounds like a bunch of football talk. Die hard fans say things to throw the other team off. I feel it comes with the territory. I’m not saying it’s right but i mean what are we suppose to kill everyone who has ever overlooked a black person. Or every old woman who has clenched her purse tightly when a black man strolls past. And most of the time most of the comments are based off the players culture, not there skin color. Racism is wrong but in most countries so is being gay. In america where i am from there is plenty of racism, even as diverse as we are. Not in american football but in “soccer,” sorry i know how you British hate the term.

  • brian // February 10, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Oy. This guy, it’s attitudes like yours that perpetuate racism. There are plenty of things that can be done or said to throw off a player. Racist things most definitely do not have to be one of them. Just because racism is deeply engrained within most cultures (and will likely never be completely eradicated) does not mean it has to be tolerated. I think the point of most posters is that if Spain took a tougher stance on racism (and did not just accept it as part of the culture), it would have less of a place in the game. Could you imagine people in crowd making monkey noises during a basketball game? No, you can’t, because it’s not tolerated. People would never accept that, no matter how much of a problem it is in society.

    And please, spare us the pity we should have for racists who get criticism whenever they open their mouths–they have it coming.

  • laura // February 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I am sorry to hear all these comment about racism in Spain.
    The perception in Spain is not the same as you proclaim. There may be isolated cases of individuals who do offend players, but in general, racism in Spain is very rear. As in the UK we also have laws prohibiting such demonstrations. You should be more careful with what you write and contrast with other sources before publication.

  • Varun // February 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    England is as racist as Spain.
    Having this holier than thou attitude proves nothing.
    England is as racist as any other European country.

    Which teams fans abused Alves?
    weren’t their own teams having colored/black/etc players themselves?

    Saying that ethnic-Asians don’t have a football culture and hence are not into football isn’t proof enough.

    It can be similarly argued that there is discrimination at the grass roots level where athletes who don’t have a 6 ft 5 frame are not given encouragement.

    Thats borderline racism for some,
    Its easy to throw the racist card back at anyone in an argument, that doesn’t prove anything.

  • Chicha Rita // February 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    NOW I know who you are Varun…you’re that kid who never got picked for football teams and blamed the more talented kids for being better than you.

    FYI…Ask Messi and Maradona if their careers suffered because of their lack of physical stature.

  • Matt // February 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Sorry this was never an argument about which country is more racist than the other, more about the racism at football grounds and in football.

    As far as I know there has been 1 incident of racism in English football in the last 10 years, and that was Spurs fans towards Sol Cambell. Now, according to your point of view, that’s justified cos to spurs fans, like myself, he left us for our rival club after all that we did for him, but OF COURSE ITS NOT! What happened to those fans? They were arrested.

    Also just because a team has a black player, doesn’t mean the fans can be racist to an opposition black player. That’s like saying ‘I’m not racist, i’ve got black friends’.

    The only reason I have these views on racism in Spanish FOOTBALL (not spain in general) is from news articles like this from Daniel Alves, from Thierry Henry, from Samuel Eto’o and also stuff like this:

    Please don’t get so riled up, I’m not trying to portray a ‘holier than thou’ attitude, just trying to stick up for what I believe is one of the best race tolerating leagues in Europe.

  • George // February 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    English football is far from perfect, the fact that it is less visible in the terraces doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. For example, the vast majority of the English Defense League (a gang of racist thugs who spend much of their time attacking Muslim people and trying to start ‘race riots’ in multicultural communities) are recruited from football grounds, and they are closely linked to some of the more extremist football supporters groups.

    Racism is also institutional in English football, much has been said about the lack of female referees in the last few weeks but there are also very few people of colour officiating English matches, and none in the premier league. There is only one black manager in the Football league (Paul Ince) and none in the Premier league following Chris Hughton’s dismissal.

    Finally, there also exists a highly racialised discourse surrounding English football, commentators will describe black players as ‘powerful’, ‘raw’ or ‘physical’ but never ‘creative’ or ‘tricky’. It is not overtly racist, but there is a tacit acceptance of racist assumptions: that black players are strong, dumb beasts rather than technically proficient professional athletes. I even heard a commentator the other week describe Yaya Toure as ‘kicking like a horse’ after a particularly powerful shot, I doubt a white player performing such an action would have got the same response. This kind of racism can also be seen in the treatment of African teams in international football, when they are not being patronised by white, English pundits they are being accused of ‘tactical naievity’ or some such thing.

    Having said all that, I’m not arguing that Spanish (or German, or French, or Italian, etc) football is less racist than English football, just that racism is still alive and well in England, despite the fact that it has been swept under the carpet by the FA.

  • Mario // February 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    But I thought only white American males were racist? LOL!!

  • brian // February 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Well said, George. Certainly racism is alive and well in nearly every country. That’s indisputable. “Polite racists” are sometimes worse, because at least with more overt racists, you know where they stand and how to stay away. Just because it isn’t explicit, doesn’t mean it went away.
    What matters at this point is how much racism is tolerated by general society. Could you imagine what would happen if an English player dressed in blackface ala Sergio Ramos? Or could you imagine Capello riling up his players by saying something about the race of the other team’s player, or the national team pulling their eyelids back to mock east Asian people (referencing the Spain Olympic basketball team here). Sure, these were outrages in the rest of the world when we here about htem, but the frequency and openness with which they happen in Spain is scary. I loved living in Spain and I had a great number of expereince of experiences with Spaniards and their culture. They have many redeeming qualities. I also remember (selfishly) feeling relieved I wouldn’t have to endure the same abuses my Korean friends endured on a near daily basis on the metro and other places.

  • Josie // February 10, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    As I stated yesterday… (don’t know where my post went).

    Racism is everywhere and especially in Europe. I think the Mediteranean nations and the eastern European nations are more blatant in their expressing their racist feelings.

    In the US, racism is more institutionalized and is embedded in cultural rhetoric or networking systems similar to the class system that is set up in some European countries.

    Minorites in the US are excluded by not knowing the cultural cues needed to know when to speak or not speak or who to contact for that promotion or job opportunity.

    I find that the lower classes tend to be more blatant because they don’t have the financial power or social control. I thing the financially better off tend to be more undecover with their feelings and use institutions to keep certain people out.

  • venga malaga // February 10, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Like it or not, it is human nature to make fun of people because they are different.
    I’m talking in general here – don’t make the mistake of thinking that because your nice liberal ideals make so much sense to you, that they MUST make sense to the rest the rest of humanity. They don’t, YOU are the minority.
    Every person has prejudices, every street has racists, let alone every country, they just show it different ways.
    In the UK people understand it needs to be kept underground – a history of slave trading and colonialism has meant a diverse population for hundreds of years and that has led to increased rights and protective laws. Fair enough.
    Spain however, was cut off from europe for most of last century and didn’t have an equivalent migrant mix. Its perfectly acceptable in the bars and cafes to make fun of blacks/Moroccans/Andalusians. Wasn’t it like this in England not so long ago? (Remember Alf Garnett?).
    It will change as Spain becomes more multi-cultural, but it will not end, just as it hasn’t in the UK or the US.
    Two great countries, their peoples at different stages of racism.
    Its still racism/bigotry/prejudice though, you can’t stop it because its in our DNA.
    In mine too, I like to hear jokes about Irishmen, and I always want England to beat those bloody Germans – should I be in prison?

  • Coolface // February 11, 2011 at 12:01 am

    ITT: lots of talk about Asians and the US given that the headline is about a black guy getting abused in Spain.

    Reminds me of Chinasmack…

  • elcynico // February 11, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Perhaps the feeling that Spanish football is racist would abate if the Spanish FA took the matter seriously instead of giving offenders slaps on the wrist.

  • Viko // February 11, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Varun, not too many footballers are over 6 ft let alone 6’5. I doubt that shorter people carry heavy hearts because their vertically challenged ancestors became trade bait and currency for western civilisation.

    You seem to be forgetting that people that are discriminated against racially have had a painful history of it. I’m not saying that short people don’t have a history of being discriminated against because of their height, but they’ve never been chained up and put on slave ships like Negros, they’ve never had entire generations wiped out like Aboriginals, they’ve never been gassed like Jews. When racist taunts are thrown around it doesn’t just hurt because we feel we are different. It hurts because it brings up a painful past.

    Just because there isn’t an English international with Asian heritage doesn’t make England racist. Could you even name a player of Asian-English ancestory who played in the Premier League? How many people of Indian heritage have made it to the top flight?

    I wouldn’t say England has a ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards racism. The English FA has put in alot of time and money to stamp out racism. In Spain, you barely get a slap on the wrist for a crescendo of monkey calls. And you’re trying to they are as bad as eachother?

  • Varun // February 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    @ Viko
    People from South Asia were taken all over the world by force, So you statement that Asian people were now slave treaded is factually wrong.

    WC was a perfect example.

    While Germany has accepted and moved forward in such a short time with very minimal colonial history of including other ethnic minorities in the national squad by encouraging them at the youth level.

    England is nowhere, even with a huge colonial past, most if not all of it racist.

    There can be 2 reasons for this
    England absolutely suck at the sport of football.
    England’s youth programs are absolutely suck are encouraging and bringing up players who are not giants.

    On top of this, they ridicule & belittle the Germans for this.
    It was all evident in the WC, Not all might hold the same view, but enough do for it being loud enough and emanate at various times in various forms.

    Spain might have racist elements so does England, saying others parts are more racist is itself racist.
    Thus goes the so called racist–racist argument.

  • koz // February 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    haha varun u trollin?

    saying an entire population of 60 million people is racist is a bit much isnt it? “most if not all of…”

    i dont much care for the UK but i have always thought they are ahead of most of europe in terms of multiculturalism/diversity. yes they have idiotic elements (EDL, BNP) but dont try and tell me there are NO groups such as these in germany.

    anyways keep crying about england being a racist hellhole, (you probably havent even been there). and how germany is this perfect, problem free super nation, its funny

  • James // February 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    So please tell me, how did Ashley Cole make it through this racist youth system being short and not-white?

    You’re argument is flawed because you made up your mind before doing much research (or thinking for that matter) and you’re looking for evidence to support it, after your mind has been made.

    Ashley Cole is not a giant and he is the best English player and the best left back in the world.

    George Best wasn’t tall… Nobby Stiles wasn’t, Jimmy Greaves. That’s in history, and Scholes, Owen and so many others are not tall either.

    Secondly, Asians are just not that good yet at football. It’s still new in many places, even though viewership is high. India, for example, is ranked 145 in the world out of 200 countries. It means that they’re only better than the island communities that don’t even have proper teams.

    Is it because the English Youth system and Peter Crouch are preventing a nation of one billion people from assembling a team of 23 good players? Did Crouch prevent India from progressing in the Asian Cup or help them get mauled by the mighty Bahrain?

    No. It’s because Indians prefer cricket.

    The whole continent, irrespective of color, religion, etc. is not that good, but they’re rapidly improving.

    The Premier League is a business and all the clubs are businesses. These clubs don’t care if you’re short, tall, black, asian, green.. they don’t even care if you’re a criminal… as long as you play well and maybe sell some shirts.

    And if Capello says a racist comment, he loses his job. Italy has a lot of racism in their stadiums, but they punish it by forcing the teams to play in empty stadiums. England uses a system of fines and leaves the rest to the police. In Spain, no one does anything. It’s completely acceptable.

    That’s the whole idea of the article. Racism exists everywhere on different levels. There is no place in the world without racism, but Spain is a place is high levels of racism and total indifference to it.

  • scousewoman // February 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Varun, I’d say the ethnic Asians that are English tend to play cricket and they are fantastic!

  • Viko // February 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

    @ Varun

    “People from South Asia were taken all over the world by force, So you statement that Asian people were now slave treaded is factually wrong.”

    Not once did I make a statement about people from South Asia being traded as slaves, unless you consider the Aboriginal people to be from that region, which goes along way to prove your ignorance.

    You go from saying “England is nowhere, even with a huge colonial past, most if not all of it racist” to “Not all might hold the same view, but enough do for it being loud enough and emanate at various times in various forms”, come on mate, make up your mind, is most or all of England racist or is only some?

    “Spain might have racist elements so does England, saying others parts are more racist is itself racist.
    Thus goes the so called racist–racist argument”

    No one is saying that England doesnt have racist elements. It does. Just like everywhere in the world. But its so out in the open in Spain. Nothing is done about it and no one is punished. Yet you try to say the Premier League is as bad as La Liga. Racism is an attitude and the Spanish seem to be accepting that some people and some teams will have that attitude. The tolerance of racism in English football is zero. So if you were a black footballer looking to make a decision of whether to play in England or Spain and felt that the only thing you had to look at was the tolerance of racism, which would you pick?

  • JaquelleSade // March 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    It is hard to believe that in the 21st century racism is still around but in fact it very much so is! For the people on here who are saying everywhere is prejudice are right but that is NOT an exscuse to put up with it. When we talk of the variety in nature it is seen as such a beautiful thing yet in this world we are all made up of different colours, tones, shapes, accents, hair etc, should we not be celebrated as a beautiful variety of beings? As much as this theory is great but it is after all only just a theory however we must remember football is a career not just random lads on the pitch, in our work places the smallest racial remark can lead to the sack so why should it be any different as a footballer!!? We all have different views on this topic, the best thing to do is if you know something will offend someone don’t say it, only a damn fool would do that. In addition to this as a proud black young lady I feel the term “coloured” people is dated and un-kind, do not use it, it is offensive.

  • benjamin // April 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    and as far as spain is concerned, i almost have pity upon them, looking at them as almost like a repressed ignorant little child. Many of them seem to proudly, boastfully display their ignorance to the rest of the world. Spain is still very communistic in nature and it will take a long time for them to catch up with more socially-integrated advanced cultures. But surely spain doesnt stand alone, i can name quite a few other european countries that need to step out of the dark ages sort a speak. Its funny how america these days gets the bad wrap when america has shown the world the most advanced platform of multi-cultural unity and rapid social change than any other nation to date. Which has bred great free-thinking attitudes and intellectual, scientific, spiritual advancements and breakthroughs. That is why american culture is everywhere. The culture of a people is the blood of the people, and when multi-culturally unified skies the limit. Unfortuneatly we are entering a new era as a world society, we only got a fair brief taste of this experiment which seemed to work and grow stronger. But its proving more and more everyday that evil and deception, ignorance, and spiritlessness is taking over. There is a great division happening these days, where will u stand?

  • Sathish // April 19, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Cool down ! Cool down! . Racisim exists in different form in every country.
    Dont argue between urself. its waste of time and energy

  • Marlon // June 21, 2011 at 5:00 am

    The shame is that despite once being prolific invaders and enslavers, Spain has since become perhaps the most culturally rich and historically ethnically diverse nation in Europe…its a shame we are only coming to think of them as they were in times of old… as vicious racists. But most of think they have no what can you do?

  • Craig // August 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Ive lived in Madrid for 4 years and people are VERY racist.
    Ive heard old lady’s yell at south americans “Go back to your country” in such a way it reminded me of the movie Schindlers List when a young girl screams with hate “Goodbye Jews!”.
    People say the most offensive things and dont care. If it is of some consolation to some brown or black people. spaniards dont like ANYONE other than themselves. They hate germans and britons alike, they call nordic or anglo people “guiris” and say they are dumb and pale people who dont know how to eat, live and such.
    Because of this idiotic mentality the french would say in a despotic way “Africa starts from the Piriness down”.
    Doesnt say much about the french either.

  • Ron Dey // September 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Dont know exactly what is the position of Indian Population in Spain.
    As a global Traveller, I go to many places in the world. So , here is my experience snapshot of Spain:
    Me: I am an Indian National. But being from Kolkata(Calcutta), I have mixed origins, I am 1/4th British(Grandmom..), but i look exactly like any other Indian person, a tad taller than most(190 cms) but I am not lanky. Slightly brownish eyes and hair but it is inconceivable with my skin tone, which is quite tanned. So I look like “very Indian”…

    1. At work: First, welcomed(due to my work qualities) but was a bit left out from the team. But once I quipped about my british origins in a small coffee discussion, in the next day I was invited to a lunch party, a football match, a disco etc etc etc… not before(15 days later).

    2. I usually get stares on the streets, sometimes for quite long with the quizzical-dog expression. It does make me feel, that I am still not integrated.

    3. when strolling around the Sol, tribunal, Gran Via area, I have received few comments…. mostly in spanish, but i could understand the tone quite well, and mostly by young groups, often accompanied by giggles from the female counterparts on the group..

    4. In clubs like Joy Eslava, Pacha, I always got preferential treatment from the bar-tenders and bouncers standing outside. But once you get inside, you would always feel, that you are not very welcomed by the crowd. It is partially because I dont speak Spanish and mostly because my skin tone is brown(I think).

    5. On trains and metros I have seen another example. If you sit in a seat, and if you are not fair skinned, people would avoid sitting next or even in near vicinity to you….

    So I can safely comment that, Spain is racist… not all, but a substantial quantity of people. They are not violent, but they would do enough to make you feel, that you are not welcomed and you should forget about trying to integrate with them………

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