Football: UEFA ask Henry to HUG the racist who called him a 'black s**t' GOOD IDEA OR TASTELESS PC GIMMICK: GUNNERS STRIKER PUT ON THE SPOT AMAZING CAMPAIGN PLEA.
UEFA want Arsenal striker Thierry Henry to stage an amazing public reconciliation with Spain coach Luis Aragones.
As part of an anti-racism conference to be held in February, they want Henry to hug Aragones, who referred to the Gunner as a "black s**t" last season while holding a training session for his Spain players at Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium.
The bizarre gesture, which to many will smack of a tasteless gimmick, is being backed by UEFA, the government's sports minister Richard Caborn and his Spanish counterpart Jaime Lissavetzsky.
Lars-Christer Olsson, executive director of UEFA, said last night: "We want to surpass the first anti-racism conference we held in Chelsea a couple of years ago. This will help."
UEFA hope the plan will headline the second Unite Against Racism conference which will be held at the Nou Camp on February 1 and 2. The conference is being supported by the Network of Soccer Against Racism, the Real Spanish Federation of Futbol and FC Barcelona.
But it is far from certain that they will be able to count on the cooperation of Henry.
In fact, many Arsenal fans will see UEFA's idea as an attempt to push the France striker into a corner, knowing he could be criticised were he to refuse to take part.
Aragones argued that he made the remark in an attempt to motivate Henry's club team-mate and Spain forward Jose Antonio Reyes. The Spanish FA fined Aragones pounds 2,000, a penalty that infuriated Henry.
The striker fumed at the time: "It is laughable. The Spanish FA fined him for the sake of it, not because they felt he said something wrong.
"To fine Aragones pounds 2,000 is absolutely ridiculous. You really have to look at the Spanish authorities and they must take a long look at themselves.
"They obviously don't care about racism. There have been other times when they have fined clubs a few hundred quid for racism.
"FIFA say they run the game, so now it's up to them to lead by example.
"They should look at this fine and make it a proper one. They must also tell the Spanish FA to get real."
The fine was never reviewed but UEFA are now trying to get both parties to put the whole matter behind them.
European football's rulers are also hoping to count on the presence of Barca striker Samuel Eto'o, who has long campaigned against racism having suffered it consistently during his time in Spain.
NO LAUGHING MATTER: Henry will come face to face with Aragones; Mirror Sport in October last year and, right, Aragones winds up Reyes
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Dec 15, 2005|
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