LaLiga president Javier Tebas condemned an awful day for Spanish football after Inaki Williams reported racist abuse while Barcelona and Valencia fans clashed at Mestalla.

Athletic Bilbao striker Williams said he was racially abused by Espanyol supporters during their top-flight match on Saturday.

The forward passed on a complaint to Athletic captain Iker Muniain, who in turn spoke with referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez, while Williams appeared to clash with fans as he was substituted.

Elsewhere, supporters of Barca and Valencia were involved in violent confrontations ahead of a match the home side won 2-0, handing Blaugrana head coach Quique Setien his first defeat.

Tebas vowed LaLiga would investigate both incidents, posting on Twitter: "Today we have taken a step back in the work started years ago.

"The violent incidents of Barcelona and Valencia, the racist insults to Inaki Williams, they do a lot of damage to all of Spanish football.

"LaLiga takes responsibility. We will look with the clubs where the error is."

Williams posted a message on his official Twitter account, writing: "It is very sad that today we continue to see racism in football. We have to end it among EVERYONE. Thanks for your support."

Athletic Bilbao striker Inaki Williams has said he was racially abused by Espanyol supporters during Saturday's LaLiga encounter.

Raul de Tomas struck in the second half to cancel out Asier Villalibre's opener for Athletic in a 1-1 draw, however the match at RCDE Stadium in Barcelona was overshadowed by Williams' allegations of abuse.

The forward passed on a complaint to Athletic captain Iker Muniain, who in turn spoke with referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez.

Williams was substituted shortly after Espanyol's equaliser, but appeared to then become embroiled in a confrontation with some Espanyol supporters as he made his way off the pitch.

At full time, Williams told Athletic's club media he had been racially abused.

"I am sad for the draw and because I have suffered racist insults," he said. "It is something nobody wants to hear and that is totally out of place. 

"People have to come to enjoy, to help their team. It is a friendship, team sport and it has been a bit sad because these events should not happen. They are out of place."

Williams also posted a message on his official Twitter account, which read: "It is very sad that today we continue to see racism in football. We have to end it among EVERYONE. Thanks for your support."

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku does not intend to leave a response to racism in football to the authorities, citing players' protests in the Eredivisie as an example for Serie A stars.

A number of incidents of racist abuse in stadiums have marred Italian football in recent seasons, with Lukaku, Mario Balotelli and Miralem Pjanic among the targets.

Lukaku has repeatedly been outspoken on the issue, and the Belgium international is keen for players to lead a riposte to discrimination.

Eredivisie matches were paused for a minute in November in protest after Excelsior winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira was subjected to abuse at Den Bosch, giving Lukaku food for thought.

"For me, Italy is a beautiful country to live in," the former Manchester United man told Sky Sports.

"Italy has such a potential to be a great league like it used to, but we have to work together to keep those ignorant people out of the stadium.

"It happened in Holland as well, when I watched a game in the second division.

"I spoke to the guy that it happened to where they stopped the games for one minute, I spoke to the guy and said, 'You did well to walk off the pitch and to celebrate in front of those ignorant people'.

"I think we need to take things into our own hands. I don't think we should leave it to the federations.

"Holland did a great job, they did a fantastic job with all of their players. Sometimes in other countries we, as players, have to take matters into our own hands."

Italian police have handed a five-year ban from sports events to a supporter who racially abused Mario Balotelli in Brescia's match at Hellas Verona.

The fan has not been named, with Italian media describing him as a 38-year-old from the city of Agrigento.

Widespread reports in Italy said the police commissioner of Verona, Ivana Petricca, imposed the ban after an investigation into the events of November 3, when Balotelli reported hearing monkey chants.

Italy international Balotelli kicked the ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch in the second half of his side's 2-1 defeat at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi, where he scored a late consolation goal for his team.

The abuse led to Serie A ordering a one-match partial stadium closure for Hellas Verona, while the club handed their head ultra an 11-year ban for defending the discriminatory chants.

Italian news agency ANSA said video footage and testimonies from those at the game led to the identification of the supporter, whose ban will apply to all sport events in Italy and within the European Union.

The man will be barred from parts of the city of Verona on football match days, ANSA said.

Lazio have avoided serious sanctions for racial abuse directed at Brescia's Mario Balotelli by their supporters after Lega Serie A confirmed the club have been handed a €20,000 fine.

Balotelli scored the opening goal in Sunday's encounter, before Lazio went on to claim a 2-1 victory thanks to Ciro Immobile's brace after Andrea Cistana had been sent off.

Shortly after Balotelli's goal, a warning was read out over the stadium's public address system after chants appeared to be targeting the Italy international.

Balotelli hit out at those responsible in an Instagram post that accompanied a clip of his goal, with the striker writing: "Lazio fans that were today [Sunday] at the stadium, SHAME ON YOU #saynotoracism."

The league agrees the chants were of a discriminatory nature and have issued a punishment, though Lazio avoided harsher sanctions due to their assistance in the investigation.

A Lega Serie A statement on Wednesday read: "Lazio was penalised an amount of €20,000 for having its supporters, in the 21st and 29th minutes of the first half, emitting a chant of racial discrimination against a player of the opposing team, in addition to an insulting chant against the same player in the 21st, 29th and 42nd minutes of the first half, which led the referee to interrupt the game to make the announcement aimed at the termination of the aforementioned discriminatory chant.

"The transmission of more detailed elements has also been arranged by the federal prosecutor, both with regards to the actual positioning (sector or sub sector)…of the supporters within which the leaders of this chant were placed, also regarding the active collaboration of Lazio in identifying the subjects involved in this discriminatory event, for the purpose of the possible adoption of further measures by this judge regarding the incident, and in any case also in relation to the evaluation of the possible recidivism."

This was not the first occasion Balotelli has been the target of abuse since returning to hometown club Brescia at the start of the season.

In November, the former Manchester City star kicked a ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch after being subjected to monkey noises during a match against Hellas Verona.

Mario Balotelli has accused Lazio fans of racially abusing him during their club's win over Brescia in Serie A on Sunday.

Balotelli opened the scoring for Brescia but Ciro Immobile struck twice after Andrea Cistana's red card to turn it around for the visitors.

During the game, a warning was read out over the stadium's public address system after chants appeared to be aimed at Balotelli.

The Italy striker used social media after the match to hit out at Lazio supporters.

"[It] is a loss that hurt but we will come back stronger and we are on the right way!" He posted on Instagram with a clip of his goal.

"Lazio fans that were today at the stadium SHAME ON YOU! #saynotoracism."

It is not the first time former Milan and Manchester City striker Balotelli has been the target of abuse since he signed for hometown club Brescia at the start of this season.

Last November, Balotelli kicked a ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch after being subjected to monkey noises during a Serie A match against Hellas Verona.

In the same month, there was a controversy involving Brescia president Massimo Cellino, who said Balotelli is "black and is working on lightening up, but he is facing troubles".

The word 'nero' in Italian means 'black' but can also be used for 'gloomy'. Brescia defended Cellino's comments as "a paradoxical joke, clearly misunderstood, released in an attempt to defuse excessive media exposure and with intent to protect the player himself".

British tennis player Jay Clarke has revealed he experiences racist abuse "nine days out of 10".

The 21-year-old is ranked 154th in singles by the ATP and played Roger Federer on Court No. 1 in the second round of Wimbledon this year.

Clarke spoke out about the hostility he faces because of the colour of his skin in response to a message from fellow British player Liam Broady highlighting a societal problem.

Broady wrote on Twitter: "When one of my best mates gets chased home for simply walking past a pub at night and has to hide in bushes to avoid getting beaten up because of his skin colour how can you claim racism doesn't exist in this country?

"This problem seems to be getting worse to me, not better."

British number five Clarke responded to Broady, saying: "Not this extreme but I experience something like this at least once a day 9 days out of 10."

The comments follow a spate of allegations of racist incidents at English football stadiums, which have led to calls for the UK government to carry out an inquiry into how such abuse from supporters is feared to have become commonplace in the sport.

Clarke last year explained how he regularly received racist messages on social media after losing tennis matches.

He told BBC Radio Derby at the time: "It's happened a few times now so I just block them and move on with my life. They are sad people."

Yaya Toure has revealed he is reluctant to let his children play football because of the fear they will be racially abused.

The former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder said he would gladly work with the likes of UEFA and FIFA to combat racism in the game.

Speaking to Omnisport at the Club World Cup in Qatar, Toure also revealed his worry that racism will persist in Italy, where attempts to curb the problem have been frequently hamfisted.

"I'm sometimes emotional about this because racism is something that hurts me all the time," Toure said.

"Because my kids want to play football and want to be a footballer, and I say to him, 'Look, can you not do that?'.

"Sometimes I have to accept it, because I'm refusing him to play football why? Because of this kind of thing."

Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport recently faced criticism for its 'Black Friday' front-page headline, trailing the clash of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling in Inter's match with Roma.

And the efforts of Serie A to mount an anti-racism campaign backfired when it used artwork of monkeys as a focal point of its campaign.

Asked about racism in Italy, Toure said: "They're going to continue it. They'll continue it. You just have to understand. Three months ago I was in a conference and there were some people from the federation in Italy who just talked about it. I talked with them and what to do with Lukaku sometimes, or some of the players who don't like it.

"I think they can be better but you have to teach them. It's just about the fans. People tell them they have to be educated but it's different. It's not integration; it's about something different."

The 36-year-old Ivorian said footballers should be free to perform in an environment where "players can express themselves", and added, when asked if he would work with FIFA and UEFA: "Definitely - I want to work with them now."

Toure did not spare World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar from his criticism of the state of the game, citing it and Iraq as being among countries where women are left to feel excluded from football.

He said: "In football, to play something you have to enjoy it, because men or women ... have to play and enjoy and be herself."

Serie A chief executive Luigi De Siervo has issued an apology after an anti-racism campaign received widespread criticism for its use of monkey artwork.

Italy's top flight launched a campaign on Monday to combat what De Siervo described as "the evil" that "ruins" football, but the initiative was centred around a trio of paintings from Simone Fugazzotto, an artist renowned for using primates in his work.

The works were due to be displayed permanently at Serie A's headquarters in Milan, but those behind the campaign were accused of insensitivity given the continued incidents of black footballers being subjected to monkey chants as a form of racial abuse.

Milan and Roma criticised the execution of the initiative and claimed they were not consulted.

And although De Siervo has now apologised, he also defended Serie A from those who accuse it of not doing enough to combat racism.

A statement from De Siervo read: "We want to apologise to all those who felt offended by the work carried out by Simone Fugazzotto last May, for the Coppa Italia final.

"Despite the artist's explanation that the idea of his creation was a message against racism, the work appeared to be questionable to many.

"What cannot be questioned is the strong and constant condemnation by Serie A against all forms of discrimination and racism, which we are committed to eradicating from our league.

"Serie A is working on an official anti-racism campaign, which cannot be identified with the work of Fugazzotto, and which will be presented by the end of February."

Corriere dello Sport claimed to be victim of a "lynching" over its controversial "Black Friday" headline as editor Ivan Zazzaroni suggested some clubs had expressed support.

The Italian sports publication sparked outrage when it used the term on Thursday's front page to accompany images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.

The former Manchester United team-mates are set to square off in a Serie A fixture between Inter and Roma on Friday.

Inter striker Lukaku called it the "dumbest" headline he had ever seen and Smalling labelled it "highly insensitive".

But after hitting out at social media and criticism and declaring its "innocent" intentions, Corriere refused to backtrack with its next edition.

Friday's headline read: "Racist to whom? Lynching of a newspaper that has been defending freedom and equality for a century".

The front page included a collage of past headlines condemning racism and an editorial from Zazzaroni that insisted "Black Friday" was meant to be a celebration of diversity.

Roma and Inter's city rivals Milan responded by banning the newspaper from speaking to their players and attending training sessions for the remainder of 2019.

In an appearance on Telelombardia, Zazzaroni said: "The other clubs have expressed solidarity. I don't have to justify myself. In the newspaper we did many articles on the fight against racism.

"The headline has been explained and clarified. It was a pun on two champions of anti-racism.

"Lukaku's agent [Federico Pastorello] even said that there was an association with other [newspapers] with the aim of debasing both players.

"Let's say that the exchange between me and Pastorello wasn't very uplifting."

Racism controversies have plagued Italian football this season. Lukaku and Brescia's Mario Balotelli were separately subjected to taunts from supporters during matches in September and November.

Serie A clubs recently signed an open letter vowing to address the issue of racism within the Italian game, with football authorities criticised for not doing enough to punish examples or racial discrimination at matches.

Roma and Milan have banned Corriere dello Sport from their training grounds and told players not to speak to the newspaper for the rest of the year.

On Thursday, the Italian sports daily published the headline 'Black Friday' – accompanied by pictures of Roma's Chris Smalling and Inter's Romelu Lukaku – ahead of the Serie A clash between the two sides.

The headline was widely criticised as being racial insensitive, with Smalling and Lukaku both expressing disappointment.

However, Corriere dello Sport's editor described the headline as "innocent" and insisted the words reflected "the pride of difference, the wonderful wealth of difference", adding: "If you don't get it, it is because you can't or you don't want to."

The clubs announced their sanctions against the newspaper in a joint statement.

It read: "We believe that players, clubs, supporters and the media must be united in the fight against racism in football and we all have a responsibility to be very precise in the words we choose and the messages we deliver.

"In response to the 'Black Friday' headline published by the newspaper, Roma and Milan have decided to ban Corriere dello Sport from our training facilities for the rest of the year and our players will not carry out any media activities with the newspaper during this period.

"Both clubs are aware that the actual newspaper article associated with the headline did portray an anti-racist message and for this reason, we have only banned Corriere dello Sport until January. We remain totally committed to tackling racism."

Corriere dello Sport's controversial "Black Friday" headline focusing on Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling proves the media is a part of Italy's discrimination problem, according to anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out.

With Inter and Roma set to tussle in Serie A this Friday, the sports publication previewed the contest on its front page on Thursday.

But the prevalence of "Black Friday" – a term used to describe the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States when retail sales mark the start of the Christmas shopping period – saw the publication focus on the reunion of former Manchester United team-mates Smalling and Lukaku, and specifically the colour of their skin.

Roma, Inter and Milan were among the clubs to condemn the actions of Corriere dello Sport, which defended its headline as being "innocent", adamant the story "is transformed into poison by those who have poison in themselves".

Troy Townsend, head of development for equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out, said errors in judgement help to normalise discrimination in Italy, a country that has been dogged by incidents of racism this season.

Speaking to Omnisport, Townsend said: "We're not shocked, are we? We've seen a number of incidents in Italy this season alone.

"If we talk about Lukaku himself and the abuse he received at Cagliari, Mario Balotelli again – what he had to do through anger, through frustration, in kicking the ball into the crowd and attempting to walk off a football pitch. Then he had his own president [Massimo Cellino] talk about him in the way he did, saying he was ['black and is working on lightening up'].

"This is symptomatic of the issues and the problems that still exist in Italy. While we thought it was an issue for the federation, who allow racism in their stadiums and allow the very identity of black people to be dehumanised, questioned and devalued, we now realise again – like we have in the UK – that the press have a massive part to play in this as well.

"By choosing two black players and using that headline 'Black Friday'… their [Corriere dello Sport's] statement, you're not kidding anybody here.

"Ultimately, that is a racist act that's been put out publicly that many people will glorify on and chuckle with. That's my massive issue – you're influencing the masses with whatever you put out, front page or back page.

"The people they should go and ask how they feel are Lukaku and Chris Smalling. I can guarantee both of them will tell whoever it needs to be as it is and not be led by a limp statement afterwards."

Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has defended its "Black Friday" headline ahead of Romelu Lukaku's reunion with former team-mate Chris Smalling as "innocent".

Inter and Roma face each other on Friday in a match that will see two of Serie A's form teams clash.

But "Black Friday", a term used to describe the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States when retail sales mark the start of the Christmas shopping period, saw the publication focus on the meeting of former Manchester United colleagues Smalling and Lukaku, both of whom are black.

The front-page splash has attracted widespread criticism, with Roma, Inter, Milan and Fiorentina among those to respond.

But Corriere has hit back with a remarkable defence, adamant those criticising the article do so because it is they who are bigoted. The publication claims the headline was designed to hail diversity.

"Digital platforms? I'd rather say rubbish bins," Corriere wrote of social media, where much of the criticism has originated. "Made up by noble grudges and cheap disdain. A good thought a day turns the doctor away.

"Armies of conformist people surf around the web these days just to paint their good souls whiter. Once the daily racist is spotted, there you go, a handful of strikes to the keyboard and the stain fades away. You feel a better man in a better world. White, black and yellow.

"The denial of the difference is the macroscopic typical mistake of the racism hidden within the anti-racism movements. The mental rabble of the Sunday moralist, and even a Thursday is a Sunday.

"'Black Friday', for he who wants to and can understand, is only the praise for difference [diversity], the pride of difference, the wonderful wealth of difference. If you don't get it, it is because you can't or you don't want to.

"[It was] an innocent headline, so perfectly explained by Roberto Perrone [the author of the article], is transformed into poison by those who have poison in themselves."

Roma have criticised an Italian newspaper for previewing their upcoming Serie A game against Inter with a "Black Friday" headline between images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.

Corriere dello Sport dedicated its front page to the contest between two of Italy's form teams, but their headline choice has attracted widespread criticism.

"Black Friday", a term used to describe the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States when retail sales mark the start of the Christmas shopping period, saw the publication focus on the reunion of former Manchester United team-mates Smalling and Lukaku, both of whom are black.

Roma – who Smalling is playing for on loan – brought the headline to the attention of their followers on Twitter, posting a screenshot of the offending front page and suggesting "not a single soul" would find Corriere's editorial decision to be appropriate.

Inter striker Lukaku and Smalling have been leading stars for their respective teams this season, but the headline is the latest in a series of incidents to have blighted Italian football this season.

Belgium international Lukaku, who is of Congolese descent, was subjected to racist abuse by Cagliari fans in September.

Milan's Franck Kessie was targeted for similar abuse at Hellas Verona later that month, before Smalling called for stronger punishments for racism in October.

Last month Brescia's Mario Balotelli reacted to monkey chants away to Verona by kicking a ball into the stands, while in an unrelated incident the club's president Massimo Cellino was criticised for racially insensitive comments about the Italy striker.

In relation to Balotelli being dropped from the first team, Cellino said: "What can I say? That he's black and he's working to whiten himself but he has great difficulties in this."

A statement from Brescia said the remarks were "clearly a joke said as a paradox" and a "clearly misunderstood... attempt to downplay an excessive media exposure and aimed at protecting the player". 

Serie A clubs have called on fans to support them in an anti-racism drive after admitting: "We have a serious problem."

Several matches in Italy's top flight have been marred by instances of racist abuse, with Inter's Romelu Lukaku and Brescia forward Mario Balotelli among the high-profile victims this season.

The incidents have prompted public discussion of the issue and, following talks with the league and with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Serie A clubs addressed supporters.

The 20 teams released a letter together on Friday, pleading with fans to recognise they cannot wait for racism to "magically disappear".

It read: "We have to publicly recognise that we have a serious problem with racism. It's a problem that we have not done enough to combat over the years.

"Images of players being racially abused in Italian football have been viewed and discussed all around the world this season and that shames us all.

"No individual should ever be subjected to racist abuse - inside or outside of football - and we can no longer stay silent on this issue or wait for it to magically disappear.

"Driven by the clubs, positive conversations have been held in recent weeks with Lega Serie A, FIGC and international experts on how to tackle and eradicate this issue from the game.

"We, the undersigned clubs, are united by our desire for serious change, and Lega Serie A has stated its intention to lead the way by delivering a comprehensive and robust Serie A anti-racism policy, stricter new laws and regulations and a plan for educating those within the game about the scourge of racism.

"We don't have any more time to waste. We must now act with speed, with purpose and with unity, and we call on you, the fans, to support us in this vitally important endeavour."

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