The FA back Spain's 2016 Olympics bid to silence racists

England's friendly in Spain on February 11 is expected to be used by both sides to demonstrate football's fight against racism.

This follows the unacceptable scenes at Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium in November 2004 when England's black players - Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jermaine Jenas and Jermain Defoe - were subjected to vile abuse from the home crowd.

The Madrid team campaigning to host the 2016 Olympics want to use next month's game to show the seriousness of their anti-racism stance, even though it is being played in Seville.


Pain in Spain: Ashley Cole and other black England players were subjected to vile racist abuse during the Madrid friendly with Spain in November 2004

The Spanish capital's bid slogan translates as 'The human touch'.

Racist controversies in the country's sport have included the national basketball team being pictured making slit-eyed poses before the Games in Beijing.

The English FA, who have led the fight against racism in football, privately never wanted the Spain match to take place in Madrid after what happened last time.

But the Spanish federation made their own decision to take the game to Seville, where the FA will happily support any Madrid-led anti-racism initiative around the international match.


The RFU councillors, known to moan from the Twickenham rooftops if the menu or the service at their pre- and post-match meals is not up to standard, are to be used as guinea pigs for a 'soft opening' of the much-delayed South Stand Hotel at rugby's headquarters.

The blazers and their partners are being accommodated in the Marriott-run hotel - which was due to open in October 2007 - before the Six Nations game against Italy on Saturday week.

RFU chief executive Francis Baron has escaped most of the blame for the late finish and £3million-£5m overspend because the recession means the finishing touches are proving a lot cheaper than expected.

Lord Marland

Lord Marland's challenge to Giles Clarke for the chairmanship of the England and Wales Cricket Board received a considerable setback yesterday when the MCC, who count both candidates as members, decided overwhelmingly to support Clarke in the election.

After Marland (right), the former Tory Treasurer, had addressed the MCC committee at Lord's, the prevalent feeling was that he did not have a sufficient background in the game, unlike his rival Clarke.


The financial meltdown at West Ham is so serious following the collapse of owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's business empire that the proposed switch of the club's training facility from Chadwell Heath to the Ford sports ground in Dagenham will not now go ahead.

West Ham can afford the £1m cost of the site, but not the refurbishment.

Gianfranco Zola

Standstill: West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola must stay put at the club's Chadwell Heath training HQ after plans to move to the nearby Ford sports ground collapsed


Play it again? Not likely

The revelation by Sportsmail columnist and former top referee Graham Poll that a regulation exists allowing clubs to agree not to play FA Cup replays has put the subject back in the spotlight when the competition is rapidly losing prestige.

And the FA find themselves more vulnerable than ever over replays now that Barnsley director Barry Taylor has been replaced as chairman of the FA Cup committee.

It was traditionalist Taylor who led his committee's resistance to the Premier League forces who wanted replays cancelled in the fifth and sixth rounds in 2006 - and against the Beeb, who planned to move the FA Cup Final kick-off from 3pm to later in the day.

FA Chairman Lord Triesman

England's troubled 2018 World Cup bid team, who meet at Wembley today, are heading for a leadership showdown.

There are board members who believe FA chief Lord Triesman (left) hasn't the time to double up as chairman of the bid, especially when the idea was always to run it at arm's length from Soho Square. 

Lord T will soon have to make clear how long he intends to control both operations.

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