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Anti-racism chief wants swift action in Spain against abuse

RACE ROW: Dani Alves reacted to a banana-throwing insult by taking a bite out of it

AN ANTI-RACISM campaign chief has urged Spanish football authorities to take further action after spectators threw a banana at Barcelona footballer Dani Alves.

Piara Powar, executive director of the Football Against Racism in Europe, said there was still much work to be done, saying racism is "endemic" in the Spanish game.

The Brazilian international has won widespread support after he picked up the banana and started eating it when it was thrown from the stands during a match against Villareal. It has spiralled into a viral campaign with supporters posting pictures of themselves eating bananas online.

“There have been generations of black players who have been suffering similar things in Spain,” said Powar in an interview with Entertainment Magazine.

“Dani Alves himself has talked about the problems he has suffered for the 11 years that he has lived in Spain. He did what he did instinctively, as a means of ridiculing the guy who was trying to demean him and it’s been a very effective action.

“At the same time, we need to go beyond the symbolic gesture of players showing solidarity with Alves and really start to put pressure on the Spanish government, the Spanish FA and the fans who are involved in organisations that are putting up with this. This is endemic.”

Other black players such as Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldhino and Ashley Cole have all suffered abuse such as monkey chants during matches played in Spain.

Powar praised the decisive action taken by the NBA last month to deal with racist comments from LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling. He was banned for life, and ordered to pay $2.5 million (£1.5m).

“It’s amazing how quickly the NBA have acted. They have declared that this guy is unfit for purpose and not fit to hold a franchise; that is very impressive,” he said.

“It will be very interesting to see a similar case in football but I doubt they would be taking he same firm action that the NBA have done.”

Spanish authorities have since announced a 12,000 euro fine for Villarreal, while the club said they have banned the supporter who threw the banana at Alves for life.

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