Unbelievable comments last week from Spain‘s football federation chief who denied that racism is a problem in Spanish soccer despite several racist incidents among its fans at Euro 2012 and La Liga matches.
Angel Villa Llona, president of the Spanish FA and a member of both FIFA and UEFA’s executive committee was asked how racism in Spanish football compared to the game in England, which has had two high-profile abuses cases in the last year, Villa Llona said:
“There is no racism in Spanish football.”
If Llona that clueless or has he simply forgotten that UEFA fined the Spanish FA after Spain fans racially abused Mario Balotelli during Euro 2012? Or that last year Barcelona‘s Dani Alves said racism in the Spanish game is “uncontrollable.”
“The clubs and the league try to do some things to stop it,” he said. “They try to punish the clubs, but it is uncontrollable. It will not go away” said Alves
Pressed further and asked about the incident when Thierry Henry was the subject of racist language from former Spain coach Luis Aragones, Villa Llona repeated his insistence it was not an issue in Spanish football.
In the Henry incident, Aragones was sharply criticized across Europe after being picked up by TV microphones trying to motivate Jose Antonio Reyes by telling him he was better than “that black s—”, in reference to Henry. Aragones was eventually fined $3,950 by the country’s FA for the racist remark.
Sometimes it amazes me that people as clueless and out of touch as Llona can rise to leadeship positions in any organization, never mind becoming Spain’s football federation chief.