Court No.2 of First Instance of Cornellá de Llobregat has transferred preliminary proceedings to the Public Prosecutor's Office and LaLiga (as the accusing party) so that they can request the opening of a trial against those allegedly guilty of hurling racist insults at Athletic Club player, Iñaki Williams.
LaLiga, who reported the alleged racist insults against Williams to the Prosecutor's Office, bring an indictment requesting the opening of a trial, following its faithful commitment to denounce, within its competences, all insults and chants of a racist, xenophobic, and homophobic nature, etc.
The events took place on January 25, 2020, during the match between RCD Espanyol de Barcelona and Athletic Club, held at the RCDE Stadium. In the 69th minute of the match, while Iñaki Williams was leaving the pitch, several fans shouted racist abuse.
On the occasion of the events reported, the Mossos de Esquadra, at the request of the Prosecutor's Office, initiated an investigation which resulted in, after identifying those responsible, in a complaint by the Prosecution Ministry against the alleged perpetrators of the insults, for hate crimes and discrimination.
Now, after the corresponding investigation, Court No.2 of First Instance of Cornellá de Llobregat has issued an order for the opening of a trial against the accused. During the investigation, Iñaki Williams himself appeared in court to testify and confirm the unfortunate event to which he was subjected.
More LaLiga complaints against racist insults against players
It is not the first time that LaLiga has had to report racist insults towards football players by fans to the Prosecutor's Office.
In the case of Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr., LaLiga filed similar complaints to that of Iñaki Williams for the abuse he received during ElClásico at Camp Nou on October 24, 2021, and during the RCD Mallorca vs. Real Madrid match on March 14, 2022 at the Estadio Son Moix..
Meanwhile, Nico Williams, Iñaki's brother and also an Athletic Club player, was the subject of racist abuse on March 13, 2022 at the Estadio Benito Villamarín during the Real Betis vs. Athletic Club match, which was also the subject of a complaint by LaLiga.
And finally, LaLiga acted in the same way in the case of Carlos Akapo, then a Cádiz CF player, who also suffered racist abuse at the Estadio de los Cármenes during the match against Granada CF on February 28, 2022.
LaLiga to file charges over Santander incident
LaLiga has been named as a plaintiff in the proceedings opened by the Santander Court of Instruction No. 4 in relation to the violent disturbances that occurred between Racing Santander and Real Oviedo supporters prior to the match held on August 28.
On September 8, the National Police reported the arrest of four men, members of the Juventudes Verdiblancas group, as alleged perpetrators of the violent events that took place in the centre of Santander on August 28, and who are charged with the crimes of public disorder and criminal damage.
LaLiga's fight against violence
LaLiga's Integrity and Security department strongly denounces any type of violence that has occurred inside and outside professional football stadiums over the last few seasons. LaLiga's objective is zero violence in sport and in order to achieve this, various prevention, detection and reporting practices are carried out on each matchday, which are reported to the National Commission against Violence, Racism and Xenophobia in Sport. In the same way, LaLiga is a plaintiff in any criminal proceedings related to violent acts occurring within the scope of football.
The overall activity of high-risk groups in Spain, classified as such by the State Commission against Violence, Racism and Xenophobia, is one of the lowest globally, and is on a downward trend. Total violent actions and direct confrontations between members of high-risk groups this season have remained at the average of the previous seasons. Of the total number of clashes between members of these groups, only 40%, less than half, occurred at LaLiga matches. The movement of high-risk groups also shows a downward trend, falling by a third over the last five years (from 296 to 194).
Chants inciting violence and/or intolerance are among the few behaviours that have increased (from an average of around 50 reports per season in the past to 99 this year). This, far from being a negative, is because the criteria used to define them has been toughened even further. A very close link has been found between bigoted chanting and violent actions, and it has therefore been deemed imperative to work more intensively and to prosecute any kind of chanting or actions that are hateful or incite violence. As such, LaLiga files complaints every matchday against chants that incite violence and/or bigotry in LaLiga SmartBank and LaLiga Santander matches, further clarifying the measures taken by the clubs, which are advised to be particularly strict in this area.