Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Racism in Spanish football reaches a new low

Racism in Spanish football has been a problem for many years but the issue has worsened in recent years with several incidents severely damaging the league's reputation. Real Madrid winger, Vinicius Jr, has been the subject of racist abuse from Spanish fans on at least ten occasions and recently said that Spain is known as a ‘country of racists' in his home country of Brazil.

In May 2023, the Spanish Football Federation admitted that racism is an issue in Spanish football but nearly a year later, not much has been done to combat it.

Last weekend, the problem worsened further during a match between Rayo Majadahonda and Sestao River in the country's third tier. Ray Majadahonda's goalkeeper, Cheikh Kane Sarr, faced racial abuse from the stands and decided to confront the supporters in question, bringing the game to a halt in the 84th minute.

Inexplicably, the referee decided to send the goalkeeper off which resulted in the rest of the Rayo Majadahonda players walking off the pitch in solidarity with Sarr. When they refused to return to the pitch, the three points were awarded to Sestao River. Speaking after the match, Sarr said:

“I grabbed him and asked why he was insulting me. My attitude was not aggressive, I just wanted to ask him why. It was something horrible and I could not stop myself. It was a very sad and ugly thing what they were saying.”

Racism in spanish football
Cheikh Kane Sarr confronted a fan at the weekend over racial slurs – Photo by Reuters

The Spanish Football Federation elect to punish both clubs

If the sending-off wasn't bad enough, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have since doubled down on the decision. They have punished Rayo Majadohonda by giving them a three-point penalty and a €3,006 fine for failing to complete the match while they have handed Cheikh Kane Sarr a two-match ban.

The RFEF judged Sarr's reaction to the abuse as “contrary to good sporting order” but did at least concede that there were “mitigating circumstances” and believed that he acted out of “justified sufficient provocation, motivated by the racist insults received”. However, despite all of that, they have still decided to go through with the aforementioned sanctions. 

Sestao River have been fined €6,001 (£5,140) for failing to repress violent and racist behaviour and they have been ordered to play their next two matches behind closed doors. The Sestao supporter who was confronted by Sarr, meanwhile is pressing charges for assault.


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

Articles: 428