Cameroon football legend calls for tougher racism sanctions in Spanish football
Former Cameroon and Arsenal defender Lauren has urged Spanish authorities to do more to stop racism in football, saying the current system “allows it to happen”.
Responding to the recent abuse suffered by Brazil and Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr, he said that tougher measures are required.
“I grew up here in Spain and we all know there are Nazi people in the crowds,” said the two-time Premier League winner who also won two Africa Cup of Nations.
“Supporters of Real Madrid, the Ultra Surs, Boixos Nois Barcelona, Frente Atletico Madrid, United Family Real Betis, Valencia’s Ultras Yomus, Blanquiazules Brigades Espanyol – they are all Nazis.
“They are always there at the stadium every single week since I was a kid. The Spanish authorities do nothing about them.
“They allow them to even go to the training ground to put pressure on the players and that’s why I am saying it’s the system that allows this (racism) to happen.”
But Lauren, who grew up in Spain’s Andalusia region, said there are other ways of dealing with the issue.
“The only (club) president who said ‘I don’t want any more Ultra Sur supporters at Real Madrid’ has been Florentino Perez.’ He’s the only president who said ‘I don’t want far-right people in my stadium.’
“The rest of the presidents don’t do anything at all,” added the 46-year-old, who regards the situation as even worse in the lower leagues where such incidents don’t create headlines.
“This is the reality here in Spain…in La Liga, in the second division, the third division. Vinicius makes it bigger because he plays for Real Madrid.”
Lauren highlighted several other high-profile players who have faced racism in the past, with their cases remaining largely unresolved.
“Twenty years ago, it happened with Samuel Eto’o and nothing happened. Dani Alves with Barcelona when they threw bananas and nothing happened.”
Vinicius Junior, over the last few weeks has been a subject of media attention after standing up to racist fans in a La Liga match.