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October 14, 2008

Stop Monkeying Around

Proving once again that American sporting events are comparatively civilized affairs, Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid just received the toughest penalty ever for racism. That's right—a penalty for racism. The club, which was scheduled to host an upcoming match against Liverpool, will see the match moved to a neutral location at least 300 kilometers from Madrid. Finding out exactly what the club did to deserve this penalty is difficult.

Marseille v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League

Lucky for Marseille's Djibril Cisse, he was on loan from the club and missed the ugliness in Madrid.

The cause was a racist riot by Madrid fans in an October 1 match against Marseilles, during which fans directed "monkey chants" at Marseilles players. Beyond that, however, many news outlets seem reluctant to go into detail.

The Independent: "The ruling saw Atletico fined £120,000 for their fans' racist abuse of Marseille players earlier this month and handed a three-match stadium ban—one game suspended—after crowd trouble and lack of organisation at the same match."

The Guardian: "Uefa issued the three-match stadium ban against the Madrid club following crowd trouble and racist comments at Atlético's game against Marseille on October 1."

CNN: "Regarding the Marseille match, Gaillard explained: 'There were monkey chants against the nonwhite players throughout the game and there was also a problem with handicapped supporters who bought tickets and were not provided with adequate viewing.' "

AFP: "The comment comes hours after UEFA slapped a hefty ban on the Spanish side, over an incident during a Champions League match in October when fans directed monkey chants at Marseille players and the team bus was attacked in Madrid."

Times of London: "Black journalists were racially insulted by Atletico fans during the match, Uefa say that and no provision was made for disabled supporters. Monkey chants were aimed at Marseille's black players, and Uefa added that Aguirre, the coach, repeatedly swore at Mathieu Valbuena, the Marseilles midfielder, calling him 'a son of a whore' among other insults."

Oh, and in case you were wondering, "monkey chants" are literally that—fans chant like monkeys.

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