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‘The battle to eradicate racism from football is a tough one, but we must never give in’, says Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s  spokesperson on anti-racism. ‘We must win this battle.’ He reacts to the words of Dani Alves, the Brazilian wingback of Barcelona.

 

On Wednesday during the 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Spanish Cup semi final, so called fans of Real Madrid abused Dani Alves with monkey chants in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.

 

‘I didn't consider leaving the pitch, but it did bother me’, Alves said on Thursday. ‘It hasn't only happened in the Bernabéu, but rather in all the stadiums we visit.’

 

Alves, who in the past has complained repeatedly about racist abuse in Spain, was clearly frustrated: ‘I know that things are being done to fight against this, but it still takes place. For me it is a lost war. I have been in Spain for 10 years and it has happened since the first day.’

 

‘You can be liked or disliked by fans, but the people who go to the stadium should be there to support their team’, said Alves, a three-time member of the FIFA FIFPro World XI.

 

FIFPro can understand the frustration of Alves. ‘Dani Alves is absolutely right when he says that people should visit matches to support their team or just watch and enjoy a football game.’

 

‘However, Dani should understand the fight must go on. Unfortunately, the fight against racism is a long fight. People have to be educated, have to realize that all men are equal. That will not happen overnight. It takes time to completely stamp out this racist behavior.’

 

‘We have come a long way in the past decade, but we still have a long way to go, as we noticed this week with amongst others players in The Netherlands, Guatemala, Israel and Spain being abused and insulted.’

 

FIFPro is of the opinion that education is the most important measure to help eradicate racism from football.

 

In order to improve this education, FIFPro has joined campaigns such as

Show Racism the Red Card, and also supports FARE and Kick It Out.

 

FIFPro realizes that education is not the only tool. It is one very important component in a package of measures.

 

‘For FIFPro it’s clear that proper education involving the players and player unions will help reduce racist behavior. However, for those hooligans who persist in their deformed misconduct, stronger measures will be necessary and that means tougher sanctions and action by the police.’