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RFEF probing QPR U18's claims of racist abuse

Loftus Road, home to Queens Park Rangers.
QPR have backed their U18 side for abandoning a game amid alleged abuse.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed to ESPN FC on Friday that it has opened an investigation following Queen Park Rangers' claims their under-18 players suffered racist abuse during a friendly in Seville last week.

QPR youth coach Paul Furlong instructed his team to leave the pitch in the second half of the game after a number of the QPR players were allegedly subjected to racist abuse by AD Nervion players on Aug. 8.

The Andalusian Football Federation (RFAF) opened an investigation on Wednesday after QPR issued a statement.

"We have opened an investigation within the Spanish Football Federation even though it's not a game that fall in our competence, but we are aware that the events, if confirmed to be true, are very serious," the Spanish FA Integrity vice-president, Ana Munoz, told ESPN FC on Friday.

QPR have reported the incident to UEFA and FIFA.

No official referee report is available for the game, as AD Nervion did not request authorisation to hold the international friendly to the Andalusian Football Federation as it should have, and instead used an independent referee instead an RFAF-affiliated official.

However, the RFEF will leave no stone unturned, said Munoz, the former president of the Spanish government's commission for the fight against violence, racism and xenophobia.

"We don't have a referee report in the technical sense that allows us to know what happened with the presumption of veracity that a referees' declaration does give us," she said.

"If true, the episode is shameful whichever way one looks at it. it was a game that involved underage players, the image a Spanish team gives... I believe that irrespective of the investigation opened by the Andalusian Football Federation, which I am aware of, we have to send a strong message that this is unacceptable.

"We have to take the necessary measures so that those who were involved, if confirmed, must be made aware of their actions, which I'm not sure they are."

AD Nervion has yet to issue a statement regarding the incident, but its club president, Manuel Fernandez Ortiz, told ESPN FC that one of his players made a derogatory comment to a QPR player after being spat on during the game.

Munoz has urged AD Nervion to take "urgent action," stating that "it's essential that those players, if those allegations are confirmed, receive the disciplinary ban for the given incident."

"I have not seen any reaction from the club and they should be the ones to feel shame if those allegations are true," Munoz said. "The Andalusian Football Federation president has transmitted to me his personal commitment that this issue is a priority.

"The Spanish Football Federation has a commitment with all policies regarding zero tolerance with this episodes.

"We are going to be the driving force to take the necessary actions to correct this if possible, because the damage to these youth players has already been done."

QPR CEO Lee Hoos said that had this incident occurred in England, a strong punishment would have been given, but "unfortunately, it seems some countries have a long way to go in this respect."

"There is a specific legislation in place since 2007 in Spain regarding racist, violent and xenophobic behaviours in sporting events, in particular in football," Munoz said. "Since Luis Rubiales, the UEFA vice-president, took charge of the Spanish FA, we have been present in all anti-violence committees and have immediately reported any type of conduct. I understand the comments made by the QPR CEO, I really do, but I don't think Spain is a country that turns its back on these type of incidents."

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