Atletico win appeal over racist abuse sanction

AFP , Thursday 9 May 2024

The Spanish Football Federation on Thursday accepted Atletico Madrid's appeal against a partial stadium ban after racial abuse directed at Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams.

Nico Williams
Nico Williams points to the colour of his skin after racist abuse at Atletico Madrid. AFP


Atletico were initially ordered to partially close their stadium for two La Liga matches following monkey chants heard by Spain international Williams at Atletico's Metropolitano stadium last month.

The federation pointed to Atletico's "active cooperation" in their decision to lift the stadium ban and a 20,000 euros ($21,350) fine.

Williams heard the abuse when he went to take a corner. He subsequently scored, pointing to his arm in reference to his skin colour, in his side's 3-1 defeat on April 28.

"There weren't many of them. There are stupid people everywhere... I hope this changes bit by bit" he said after the match.

Atletico identified the person responsible for the abuse from cameras in the stadium. He was handed over to the police when the game ended, and banned from the club.

The federation praised Atletico's swift action in what they accepted was "an isolated incident".

Spanish football has suffered a spate of racist incidents in recent years, many of which have been aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.

The Brazil international earned global support after facing off with a fan who was abusing him last year at Valencia's Mestalla stadium, which also faced subsequent partial closure.

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