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Oct 31, 2012

Murcia's Nafti explains racism argument

Murcia midfielder Mehdi Nafti has pointed to differences in the attitudes towards racism in football in Spain and England, after accusing Alcorcon coach Jose Bordalas of making racist comments following a game last weekend but deciding against making an official complaint.

Nafti, once of Birmingham, now with Spanish Segunda Division side Murcia, said Bordalas called him a "Moor [the medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula] s***" during a heated discussion in the tunnel after Sunday's league clash between the two sides.

The Toulouse-born Tunisia international said at a press conference on Tuesday that racist incidents were taken much more seriously in the UK than in Spain.

"Before being a coach you must have manners," Nafti said. "It hurt me a lot what he said. In England they throw you in jail for this. You must look at the examples of (John) Terry and Luis Suarez. Here it seems that saying 'Moor s***' is like saying 'good morning'. It is very serious."

Nafti first told his club he wanted to denounce the coach for racism, and Murcia coach Gustavo Siviero said a case would be taken to the Spanish football authorities. The player then decided against pursuing it after Bordalas, who initially denied the comments in his post-game press conference, called him on Monday night to apologise.

"I am still very hurt by what has happened, but he had the courage to call me and apologise," Nafti said. "After that conversation I decided not to take it any further."

The midfielder, 33, also said he had started the exchange of views, which took place in the tunnel at the Estadio Santo Domingo after Sunday's game.

"It could be that I told him he was a cancer or a danger to football," he said. "I was the first person to say something. Afterwards, it is certain that I got angry and lost control."

Nafti also said he felt there was a difference between conversations which took place on the field of play, and comments made by a manager afterwards.

"I can understand when someone insults me on the pitch," he said. "It is still serious, but I can understand it. But not when someone says this while wearing a suit and tie and representing football."

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