Madrid - Spanish police said on Wednesday they have laid criminal charges against
a football fan for throwing a banana at Barcelona defender Dani Alves, a
slur that has sparked a global storm of anti-racist protest.The
Spanish authorities arrested the young man Tuesday, two days after the
ugly incident put racism in Spanish football under a harsh spotlight,
unleashing condemnation worldwide including from Brazilian President
Dilma Rousseff and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
VIDEO: Dani Alves eats banana thrown onto field
The suspect, who
has been named and pilloried on social media but has not been identified
by the authorities, was charged on the same day with an offence against
civil rights and liberties before being released, a police spokesperson
If found guilty, he could face a sentence of up to three years in prison.
banana landed on the pitch near the 30-year-old Brazilian international
as he was about to take a corner during Barcelona's away match against
Villarreal on Sunday night.
Alves won praise for his reaction,
picking up the banana to take a bite before getting on with the game and
setting up a goal in Barcelona's dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory.
condemned the incident and said they had identified the culprit,
withdrawing his club membership and permanently banning him from their
"The player Dani Alves gave a daring and strong response
to racism in sports," Brazil's leader said in a series of Twitter
messages after the match.
Blatter also reacted on Twitter, saying:
"What @DaniAlves2 tolerated last night is an outrage. We must fight all
forms of discrimination united. Will be zero tolerance at #World Cup."
FIFA boss spread his anti-racism message Wednesday to the United States
after the NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for
life for racist comments.
no to racism. I fully support @NBA's decision to ban @LAClippers owner
for life after his racist words," Blatter said.
Much of the football world stood behind Alves.
Outraged at his teammate's treatment, Neymar posted on Twitter with the hashtag #somostodosmacacos, (we are all monkeys).
He then sent a photo showing him eating a banana holding his two-year-old son, who was clutching a banana-shaped soft toy.
Brazilian stars Oscar, David Luiz and Willian also posted to social
media while Manchester City's Argentinian star Sergio Aguero tweeted a
picture of himself and Brazilian five-time world female player of the
year Marta both eating a banana.
Football's world and European
governing bodies FIFA and UEFA have repeatedly tried to campaign against
racism and last November, Blatter said he was "sickened" to see some
Real Betis supporters make monkey chants at their own player, Brazilian
defender Paulao, in a city derby against Sevilla.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said on Tuesday he regretted that some people had used football to launch a racist message.
is not everyone. I want to think these are isolated incidents. In
football there is no racism, not at all," Del Bosque said, ruling out
any impact on the Spain team from the fallout of the scandal.
an interview with AFP, Alfredo Relano, the editor of major sports daily
AS, said many people in Spain did not believe there was any racism
because in the past there had been relatively few people of other races
in the country.
"As people from elsewhere have been coming in, it
has started showing up," he said, referring to the banana-throwing slur
"I think there is racism in Spain and we have
to fix it. The strong reaction from outside was very present in England
some time ago and they followed it up very seriously. I think we have to
follow it up with rigour."