MADRID: Spain’s refusal to fall in line with international sport’s campaign against racism has been attacked by anti-racism campaigners at home and abroad writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The chasm of comprehensive was illustrated by the mere £10,000 fine imposed on Villarreal after a fan threw a banana at Barcelona’s Dani Alves.

The Spanish league’s competition committee said it had taken into account the fact that the club had identified the supporter concerned and banned him for life.

The fine followed an incident in the 75th minute of a 2-2 La Liga draw at El Madrigal when the defending champions were awarded a corner. As Alves prepared to take it, a Villarreal supporter threw a banana in his direction.

Images of Brazil defender Alves picking up the banana and taking a bite during the La Liga match were beamed around the world and he was widely backed by fellow players and other public figures who denounced the apparent racist taunt.

Spanish police charged 26-year-old David Campayo Lleo with a ‘breach of fundamental rights and civil liberties’. He has yet to appear in court.

‘Very backwards’

Alves said later that Spain was “very backwards” on attitudes towards racism.

Last weekend Levante Senegal midfielder Papakouly Diop has complained of racist abuse from a section of the Atletico Madrid supporters during a league game.

Now the Anti-Violence and Racism in Sport Commission has appealed for a tougher sentence after critical comments by Sports Minister Miguel Cardenal.

Both world federation FIFA and European federation UEFA have stepped up sanctions over the past year and Paul Mortimer, of Kick It Out, urged UEFA to step in and intervene with the Spanish federation.

Further criticism ccame from Ged Grebby, ceo of Show Racism the Red Card. He said: “It’s a joke. It sends out all the wrong messages and it really is a trivial fine. Generally speaking, the Spanish FA and Spanish football are not taking racism seriously.”

Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of Kick It Out, said: “The Spanish FA has been incredibly weak and lily-livered on tackling racism and we’re seeing these types of incidents repeating themselves because they’ve done nothing sufficiently effective to address the problem.

“They need to stop burying their heads in the sand by denying that the issue exists.”