The ugly shadow of racism and xenophobia are creeping in quickly as the international friendly between Spain and England looms larger. The Commission Against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia, and Hate in Sport has classified this match to be held in Sevilla as a “high risk” match.
Memories of the 2004 friendly at the Santiago Bernabeu still smarts as racist chants rained down from the home of Real Madrid towards the black English players. This action drew the ire of the international footballing community as well as FIFA. The Spaniards will also play this match with a tight leash on them. If any racist or xenophobic incidents were to occur in this match, the Spaniards would face possible suspension.
Acts of racism are still fresh in the minds of English sports fans after Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton endured the harassment of some fans in Barcelona while during a race in Catalunya
English organization Kick It Out has asked for this type of action in the event these incidents would occur.
In lieu of the events that occurred in the Atlético-Marseille matchup, UEFA has also classified the Atlético-Porto and Real Madrid-Liverpool matches as high-risk. Domestically, the upcoming Barcelona-Espanyol match on week 24 and the Sevilla-Atlético match have been given the dubious distinction. The Catalan derby was marked by incidents started by the infamous Blaugrana ultras- the Boixos Nois- began throwing flares from the top tier of the Olimpic Montjuic and into a section where innocent Espanyol fans found their way onto the pitch to avoid the mob of people there.