Racist taunts tarnish La Liga
Spanish football league tackles racist fans in opening games of new season.
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2008 13:44 GMT

Last year Spanish clubs were threatened with point deductions and relegation for racist fan behaviour such as those thrown at Getafe's Guerron, above [GALLO/GETTY]
Spanish football team Sporting Gijon hopes to avoid further outbreaks of the racist taunting which marred its Premier league game against Getafe at the weekend.

Some fans made monkey noises at Getafe's Ecuador forward Joffre Guerron at the start of the second half at Gijon's El Molinon stadium.

Newly promoted Gijon, which lost to Getafe 2-1, was playing its first game in a decade in the top flight.

Match referee Alfonso Perez Burrull briefly halted Sunday's game to ask club officials to take action.

Gijon then made a loudspeaker announcement and the taunting stopped.

Taking action

Spanish sports daily Marca quoted Gijon club president Manuel Vega Arango as saying, "We want to continue to be very radical on these things and Sporting will always act on any type of racist incident,"

"You can't have a police officer for every supporter but you have to try your utmost that it doesn't happen again."

With Madrid bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games, authorities have displayed a willingness for Spain to improve its image by avoiding the racist incidents which have affected some sporting events over recent years.

In 2004, spectators directed monkey chants at black England players during an international soccer friendly against Spain at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.

Many believe those actions hurt the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Spanish league soccer games have sometimes been marred by spectators' racist taunting, while British driver Lewis Hamilton endured the same treatment during Formula One testing in Barcelona on February 2 this year.

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