Neymar, Cristiano, Carvajal and AFE
Messi scores from the spot at Mestalla and a celebrating Neymar makes a non endearing gesture towards the home supporters. Cristiano scores his second goal in the Madrid derby at the Calderón and strikes the "thinker" pose just in front of the section where the Frente Atletico ultras are located. Sergio Ramos bags a late equalizer last Saturday at Camp Nou and Carvajal gives the middle finger gesture to the zone where Barça's active supporters are seated. Three cases of differing seriousness (with the last case seeing Carvajal seek forgiveness after the full-time whistle). All three gestures are unnecessary and not one has been commented on by the respective clubs or player's union AFE.
Reduction in incidents
Since the death of Deportivo supporter ‘Jimmy’ two years ago, there has been a push by Spanish football clubs to tackle the problem of ultras or at least make life more difficult for them. This is happening slowly but surely although there have been one or two worrying indications of a revival in recent weeks that really I hope is just a blip. We've seen how there are less offensive chants at our stadiums, little or no banners with abusive messages with only a handful of fans being expelled from their clubs due to anti-social behaviour. Much of this is thanks to the work of club directors and they should be applauded for tackling this low-life and although progression is gradual it does seem to be moving in a positive direction. However when it comes to putting their players in line they lack any backbone and if anything are seem to be permissive.
Code of conduct guide
The president of AFE, Luis Rubiales also mentioned to me that he is no fan of these antics from professional players. It's one thing celebrating a goal and another thing to provoke rival supporters. If the scoring of a goal provides an opportunity to tease rival fans then we're on a rocky road. Player's union AFE have been preparing for some time now a Player's Code of Conduct guide which (pending approval in the forthcoming assembly) should be published in May or June 2017. Movistar + match commentator Micheal Robinson has made a series of positive suggestions with his 'Anglo' perspective and the commission itself features the likes of other ex-players such as Santamaría, Adelardo, Engonga or Giner. I genuinely hope that this promising initiative takes a step in avoiding situations as the three mentioned in the opening paragraph.
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