• La Liga

Villarreal ban fan who threw banana at Alves

ESPN staff
April 29, 2014
Villarreal ban racist fan

Villarreal have issued a life ban to the supporter that threw a banana at Dani Alves during Barcelona's 3-2 win at El Madrigal on Sunday night.

Barca defender Alves responded to a racist taunt in Sunday's game by picking up a banana that landed at his feet, peeling and then eating it before proceeding to take a corner kick.

Villarreal released a statement on Tuesday afternoon confirming the ban, which read: "Villarreal CF wants to communicate that the club deeply regrets and condemns the incident that happened yesterday during the match against FC Barcelona in which a fan threw an object onto the field of El Madrigal.

"Thanks to the security forces and the invaluable assistance of the Yellow crowd, the club has already identified the person and has decided to withdraw his season tickets, permanently banning his access to El Madrigal stadium.

"Once again our club would like to express its firm commitment to promoting respect, equality, sportsmanship and fair play both on and off the field and our absolute rejection of any act that is contrary to these principles, such as violence, discrimination, racism and xenophobia."

Barcelona formally condemned the abuse suffered by Alves, while the player himself said that humour is the best way to combat racism in sports.

"We have suffered this in Spain for some time," Alves said. "You have to take it with a dose of humour. We aren't going to change things easily. If you don't give it importance, they don't achieve their objective."

Shortly after the incident, Alves launched a cross that Mateo Musacchio headed past his own keeper before Lionel Messi scored Barcelona's winner. The win kept Barcelona four points from league leaders Atletico Madrid.

Alves has gathered support from a number of high-profile footballers around the globe, with the likes of Neymar and Sergio Aguero posing with bananas to echo Alves' suggestion that humour is the most effective way to combat racism in the sporting world.

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