January 25, 2020 / 5:10 PM / a month ago

Athletic Bilbao's Williams speaks out against racist chanting in Espanyol match

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams said he was subjected to racist chanting during his side’s 1-1 draw away to Espanyol on Saturday in La Liga.

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - October 26, 2019 Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams reacts after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Susana Vera

“I’m sad because of the draw but above all because I suffered racist insults, no black player or any player ever wants to hear that,” Williams told the club’s official media.

“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.”

Espanyol did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

La Liga president Javier Tebas condemned the abuse of Williams as well as outbreaks of violence between fans ahead of the match between Espanyol and Athletic and before Valencia’s game at home to Barcelona.

“Today we have taken a step back in the work which we began years ago. The violence in Barcelona and Valencia and the racist insults towards Inaki Williams do a lot of damage to Spanish football,” Tebas wrote on his official Twitter account.

“La Liga assumes responsibility and together with clubs we will try to find out what has gone wrong.”

Williams, 25, was also subjected to racist chanting in a match between Athletic and Sporting Gijon in August 2016 which led to the game being temporarily halted and Sporting being ordered to close a section of their ground for one match.

After Saturday’s match he posted on Twitter: “It’s very sad that today we are still having to deal with racist episodes in football. We all have to put an end to this together. Thanks for your support.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Clare Fallon

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