Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams said he was “sad” after suffering alleged racist abuse from a rival set of fans during a Spanish league match.
The Spanish international alleges the abuse came from the ultras set — a hardcore section of fans — of Espanyol supporters during the two sides’ 1-1 La Liga draw in at the RCDE Stadium on Saturday.
Williams reported the abuse to his captain Iker Muniain who then informed the referee Jose Sanchez Martinez. The official however made no reference to the incident in his post-match report.
“I’m leaving a bit sad because of the draw, but above all else because I suffered racist insults,” Williams told Athletic’s media team after the match. “It’s something that no black player or whatever race wants to hear.
“It’s something that’s totally out of order. People have to come to the stadium to have fun, to support their team, to enjoy football.
“It’s a sport of friendship, of being a team. Honestly, it was a bit of a sad day because of what I said. These things shouldn’t happen. They’re totally out of order.”
Williams is one of Athletic’s best players and in August 2019, the 25-year-old was rewarded with a nine-year contract at the Basque club.
But it’s not the first time Williams has been subjected to racist abuse.
In 2016, in the opening game of the season against Sporting Gijon, he was subjected to racist chanting from fans which led to the referee temporarily halting the game and Sporting having to close a section of their ground for one game.
“It’s really sad that today we carry on living with these racist moments in football,” Williams said on Twitter. “We have to stop it. Thank you for all your support. No to racism.”
Espanyol said the club “condemns any sign of racism” and that it was investigating “incidents of a racist nature uttered by a few against Williams.”
The game with Espanyol was the 140th consecutive league match Williams has featured in for his club — a club record.
Espanyol’s Raul de Thomas saved a point for the Catalan side, canceling out Athletic’s goal through Asier Villalibre.