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FOOTBALL

QPR call for UEFA action after alleged racist abuse in Spain

QPR have called for UEFA to take the "strongest possible action" after the Championship club's Under-18 players walked off the pitch during a friendly in Spain following alleged racist abuse.

QPR call for UEFA action after alleged racist abuse in Spain
Photo: AFP

QPR defender Trent Mahorn took the step of leading his team-mates off the pitch after they were allegedly subjected to monkey noises and racist taunts from opposition players in a game against AD Nervion FC on August 8th.   

The referee is reported to have had no option but to abandon the game.   QPR are fully supportive of the decision taken by Mahorn and want UEFA, European football's governing body, to get involved.

“We take a very strong stance against racism and will not tolerate one of our players being subjected to the despicable comments experienced,” QPR chief executive Lee Hoos said.

QPR are in dialogue with the Football Association over the matter, but Hoos feels more should be done by the European governing body to address the issues head on.

“I applaud Paul Furlong and his staff for reacting in such a manner and doing everything within their powers to protect the players. I am also very proud of our Under-18s who showed such maturity in the face of unacceptable 
provocation,” he said.   

“Had this incident occurred in England I have no doubts the issue would be dealt with swiftly with a strong punishment by the FA.   

“Unfortunately, it seems some countries have a long way to go in this respect and I urge UEFA to take the strongest possible action as incidents of this nature are happening far too often.

“At QPR we must not, and will not, stand for it. There is an opportunity here for UEFA to make a strong statement. I hope it is an opportunity they take.”

Kick It Out said in a statement: “We will always back players and teams who leave the pitch after suffering significant discriminatory abuse, especially if they have followed the correct protocols.

“We have been in constant communication with the club (QPR) since this incident and will continue to support all football clubs and players in the fight against discrimination in the game.”

It is the latest incident in which racism has tarnished football after England players were abused during a Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro last season.

During pre-season, Arsenal's young defender Jordi Osei-Tutu, on loan at German side Vfl Bochum, walked off the pitch after allegedly being racially abused by an opposition player during a friendly against St Gallen.

Two weeks ago, Fulham defender Cyrus Christie claimed his sister was hit by a fan of his own team who then shouted racist abuse.

READ ALSO: The Afro-Spanish experience no one is talking about

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FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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