Athletic Bilbao fans throw fake money onto the pitch against FC Barcelona’s ‘Negreira case’
The fans fulfilled their promise to throw fake money with the Barcelona badge, the dollar symbol and the word ‘mafia’.
San Mamés, one of Spain’s great stadiums, did what they had said they would. Before the game, the stands assured “a hell of red and white” against Barcelona and that’s exactly what they got. As well as the raucous atmosphere, the fans also wanted to make their mark in a match in which Athletic tried to put an end to a sorry winless run: just one point out of a possible nine has been added to their league tally over recent weeks.
Athletic fan groups fulfilled their promise to throw counterfeit banknotes with the FC Barcelona badge, the dollar symbol and the word ‘mafia’ onto the pitch. All of this is part of an initiative to protest the ‘Negreira case’, the alleged corruption plot uncovered a few weeks ago. Through their social networks, the collective promoted the gesture that had a huge impact inside stadium.
“Against modern football!”, they wrote in their call to arms. To encourage more people to join their initiative, they distributed the ‘money’ in streets around San Mamés in the build up to the clash. During the match, “Neither Barça nor Madrid, Athletic!” was constantly heard.
Club President Uriarte also had his say: “Our position was made clear when we joined LaLiga’s statement on the matter. We want this to be thoroughly investigated and if the facts are confirmed, we are firmly committed to filing against this type of action; we will continue to follow the case with a lot of attention”.
The game was a crazy match in which VAR became, as has become all too common, the main protagonist. Barça began to suffer in the second half after Raphinha had put the away side ahead in the first with a special strike. And when Iñaki’s goal in the dying seconds was ruled out for a questionable handball by Iker Muniain, the fans again fulfilled their promise, throwing the fake money and almost causing seismic activity with the roar from the stands.
Before the game began, the Basque club had a lovely moment with Ter Stegen. Iribar presented to him a black shirt in response to the German’s choice to wear black for his 80th birthday. Iribar said: “I appreciate the idea and the affection that they have shown me. I wanted to give him a signed shirt directed by me and everyone who remembered my birthday. It was actually the goalies day, not mine. We are the real sufferers of football”.