England manager Fabio Capello has said he would have no problem playing a friendly against Spain at the Bernabeu, despite the England Football Association’s reluctance to play in the Spanish capital following the racist abuse directed at the side four years ago.
The English FA’s director of communications, Adrian Bevington, on Monday said a fixture against the European champions had been requested by Capello but they would refuse to play the game at Real Madrid’s stadium.
The Spanish federation was fined 100,000 Swiss francs after several England players were racially abused there on England’s last visit in 2004.
“It is a mistake by the FA’s director of communications. I don’t know how my name has appeared in this,” Capello told Marca.
“Why wouldn’t I want to play at the Bernabeu? It is my home. Everyone knows I love Spain. I have a house in Marbella and I love Madrid, a marvellous city where I have spent two unforgettable years.”
The Italian led Real Madrid to the Primera Liga title in the 1996-7 season and again 10 years later.
“I don’t decide where England plays, it is a decision the English FA and the Spanish Federation will have to agree on. I don’t care where the game is played and obviously if it is at the Bernabeu, all the better.”
Bevington said negotiations over a friendly fixture next February were underway, adding: “From the outset, the FA, with Fabio, were clear we would not play the fixture in Madrid due to the incidents of racial abuse we faced last time.”
Responding to Bevington’s remarks, Jorge Carretero, a spokesman for the Spanish Federation (RFEF), said. “Nothing has been agreed with the English FA. If we do make a deal it will be played where the Spanish Federation thinks opportune.
“The RFEF has received no communication from the English FA (over their refusal to play at the Bernabeu). The fans at the Bernabeu are excellent, just as they are in the whole of Spain.”