Iñaki Williams racist abuse: LaLiga, RFEF must work together
There were nasty scenes at the RCDE Stadium on Saturday, when Athletic Bilbao's Iñaki Williams was subjected to monkey chants by a section of the Espanyol crowd. He glared at them and voiced his complaints, but the incident was nowhere to be seen in referee José Sánchez's match report. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) stepped in with a statement on Sunday, offering the same explanation that president Luis Rubiales had given me that morning: it was a small minority and the referee didn't hear it; nor did the RFEF's matchday delegate or LaLiga's observer, who were both asked. That's why it didn't appear in Sánchez's report, despite Athletic's Iker Muniain pointing it out to him.
But even if the racist abuse couldn't be heard at the ground, it was audible on the TV, and LaLiga chief Javier Tebas posted a tweet angrily condemning it and promising the league would "fulfil its responsibility". He then informed his match observer, who did include it in his report. Once again, it's all descended into one-upmanship between the RFEF and LaLiga - much like in Spanish politics, where parties are most concerned about making the opposition look bad rather than focusing their efforts on constructive causes. If Tebas and Rubiales did things as they ought to, they'd have come up with a plan together to combat this sort of reprehensible fan behaviour. But that's not what's happening.
Hoy hemos dado un paso atrás en el trabajo comenzado hace años, los incidentes violentos de Barcelona y Valencia, los insultos racistas a @Williaaams45 hacen muchísimo daño a todo el fútbol español, @laliga asume su responsabilidad, buscaremos con los clubes donde esta el error.— Javier Tebas Medrano (@Tebasjavier) January 25, 2020
I thought Rayo-Albacete was a turning point - but...
After the match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete was abandoned in December over chants aimed at Roman Zozulya about his alleged far-right leanings, I naively thought we'd seen a turning point. But clearly we hadn't. That was a show of pride by the two clubs more than anything else; at an administrative level, the issue has been massively fudged since then. As with so many other things in the Spanish game, this necessary fight needs the RFEF and LaLiga to work together. Tebas has secured a renewed mandate and so too will Rubiales, as much as people might want Iker Casillas, Mariano Rajoy or the Queen of England to challenge him. Football needs them to unite, not engage in one-upmanship.
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