Athletic Club forward Inaki Williams has taken to Twitter to lambast the racism that still exists in football, after reporting incidents of abuse to the authorities in his side’s 1-1 draw with Espanyol.
Social media was awash with support for the 25-year-old after allegations of racism came to light after the match, the player having earlier heard and informed club captain Iker Muniain of abuse directed to him from within sections of the home crowd.
“Enough of racism now”
A strong @marca front cover this morning in the wake of yesterday’s events.
Iñaki Williams said he heard racist insults directed at him.
Espanyol have said they will investigate.
LaLiga President Javier Tebas has also condemned the actions.#LLL
— La Liga Lowdown 李⚽️ (@LaLigaLowdown) January 26, 2020
Muniain then passed on information to the match official, but although referee Jose Sanchez Martinez did not see fit to include the allegations in his report, Athletic themselves took a strong stance. Expressing support for the player, they reinforced their zero tolerance approach via their official website, and said that they ‘strongly condemn’ the incidents.
With the story having gone viral among football circles, Williams took to his official Twitter shortly following the early match to express sadness, and thank fans for their support.
“It is very sad that today we continue to experience racist scenes in football,” he said. “We have to end it among everyone. Thanks for your support.”
It comes after the forward, who signed a nine-year deal with the Basque-based club in the summer, spoke to the club’s official channels about the incidents in question.
“No black player or any player ever wants to hear that,” Williams said, as translated by BBC.
“It’s completely out of order, people should go to matches to enjoy themselves, to support their team; football is a team sport and should be played in a friendly atmosphere.
“It’s a sad day because of these incidents which have no place in football.”
The unsavoury scenes far overshadowed a result that did precious little for either team in the La Liga standings, with Espanyol, who will face Wolves in the Europa League next month, remaining rooted to the bottom of the division.
Athletic, meanwhile, remain just outside the European places – behind seventh-placed Villarreal on goal difference and two behind Getafe.
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