Referee halts La Liga match due to fans’ racist chants
Sunday’s La Liga match between Athletic Bilbao and Sporting Gijon was briefly halted due to racist behavior by the home fans.
The referee suspended play for about a minute after Gijon fans direct racist chants and Bilbao’s Inaki Williams, according to the Associated Press. Referee Clos Gomez described the chants as “monkey calls.”
Williams was born and raised in Bilbao by parents from Ghana and Liberia. Bilbao only employs players who hail from the Basque region of Spain and France. Williams, 22, is the first black player to score for Bilbao.
Racism has long been an issue in European soccer. In 2013, UEFA’s executive committee urged referees to stop play due to racist fan behavior.
Williams scored the lone Bilbao goal in Sunday’s 2–1 loss.