Real Madrid condemn racism, deny knowledge of incidents
Real Madrid have issued a statement
condemning racist behaviour but say that they were unaware that any
incidents had taken place in their Champions League match against Bayer
"Real Madrid roundly condemns racist incidents of any type," the club
said on its website.
"Real Madrid declares that if any incidents occurred during last night's
Champions League game, they were so small that no one at the stadium or
anyone at the club was aware they took place.
"UEFA president Lennart Johansson and other representatives of the
organisation were present at last night's game and were able to witness
the correct behaviour of the crowd."
Members of the club's Ultra Sur group of radical fans were seen
directing monkey noises and racist insults at Leverkusen's black players
Roque Junior and Juan on two occasions during the 1-1 draw at the
Television pictures broadcast in England also showed bare-chested
members of the Ultra Sur, some of whom bore tattoos of Swastikas and
Adolf Hitler, making Nazi salutes during the match.
Last week the friendly international between Spain and England at the
Bernabeu was marred by racist abuse and chants aimed at visiting black
players by large sections of the crowd.
Real also condemned the behaviour of the fans involved in the incidents
that took place at their stadium last Wednesday.
Spain's Anti-violence Commission decided on Wednesday that it would wait
until the Spanish Football Federation had completed the process to elect
a new president before deciding what action to take.
"The Federation has to decide what it is going to do first," said Rafael
Blanco, the president of the Commission. "We will then ratify or modify
Blanco criticised the behaviour of Spain coach Luis Aragones in the
run-up to the match but said that the true blame for the incidents did
not lie with him.
Aragones confronted British journalists who had questioned him over his
recent racist reference to French striker Thierry Henry and made an
angry defence of his actions.
"Aragones's declarations were inappropriate in form, content and timing,"
said Blanco. "He has recognised this and apologised. But the real
problem is not the national team's coach.
"The true responsibility for the racism and intolerance in football lies
not with the coach but with other people and it is a much deeper
question," Blanco said before going on to say that he was referring to "certain
neo-Nazi and xenophobic organisations."