FIFA is to launch an investigation after home fans hurled racist abuse at England’s black players in a friendly international against Spain in Madrid on Wednesday.
The English Football Association and the British Sports Minister condemned the incidents and have contacted FIFA about the abuse. Racist abuse was also heard at the under-21 friendly between the two nations on Tuesday.
“FIFA is concerned about the latest surge of racism in football and harshly condemns these incidents,” a statement said.
“FIFA will be investigating the circumstances of the two friendly matches between Spain and England as they come under FIFA’s ambit. It will demand explanations from the Spanish football association.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter added: “There is no room whatsoever for racism or discrimination in our sport. On the contrary, football is a tool for building bridges and nurturing tolerance.
“The world is already too full of conflict that has its roots in racism and discrimination. Football has a positive influence that can and must be used to eradicate this scourge.”
Earlier, UK Sports Minister Richard Caborn demanded the Spanish authorities condemn the behaviour of their supporters.
“We’ve all seen on television last night that is was disgraceful what happened and I will be writing to my counterpart in Spain, the sports minister, to hopefully encourage the Spanish FA to publicly condemn what happened last night, and indeed the night before at the Under-21s,” explained Caborn to Sky Sports News.
“I think that needs to be stated in public that they (Spanish FA) disassociate themselves from those fans who were chanting at our players last night. I’m also going to be contacting Uefa and Fifa for them to hold an enquiry. To encourage them to take the stiffest penalty possible.
“I think there is a long way to go, but nevertheless leadership has be given from the governing bodies who have responsibility for the conduct of the game.
“Even at the political level in Europe there is concern and indeed we are working together through education programmes, trying to make sure the people do understand the ramifications of racist chants.
“I think if we can encourage the Spanish FA to come out and publicly denounce what happened last night then I think that puts Spain’s credibility right back on the line and we can isolate the small minority of people who were chanting last night.”