HomeNFLSpanish game abandoned as team walk off after racially abused player confronts...

Spanish game abandoned as team walk off after racially abused player confronts fan


Related stories


A Spanish third-division game was abandoned after a team walked off the pitch in protest at their goalkeeper being racially abused.

The goalkeeper — Cheikh Kane Sarr — went into the crowd behind his goal to confront the fan who was allegedly racially abusing him.

His Rayo Majadahonda team-mates walked off the pitch to force the abandonment of their Spanish third division match against Sestao River.

In the 87th minute of the match, Senegalese goalkeeper Sarr, 23, was shown a red card after jumping into the crowd behind the goal following the alleged abuse, to confront the fan. Once the goalkeeper was shown the red card and informed his teammates of what had happened — the entire team walked off the pitch, with the match subsequently abandoned.

Rayo Majadahonda captain Jorge Casado told The Athletic on Saturday evening that he had gone to the local police station alongside his teammate Sarr and the club’s vice-president to denounce the racist insults, and provide witness statements.

“There are images of those who have done it, I have them on my mobile phone,” Casado has said. “But we do not yet have their names.”

He added: “The fans were insulting him by calling him a ‘monkey’, making monkey noises and calling him a ‘f****** n*****.”

Casado explained that it was his decision for the team to walk off the pitch, which was supported by the club’s head coach, his teammates, and by the club’s ownership.

He added that officials of the match were trying to enforce the “protocol” to continue the game, but they refused.

“We are at the bottom of the table and we have a lot at stake, but we do not care about these consequences,” Casado explained. “Our values are above our sporting matters, so we do not care if we are sanctioned.”

Casado added: “At first the other team blamed our teammate, but then they empathized. It was a bit crazy. Sarr was just doing his job. Hopefully action will be taken and this will be a turning point.”

In a statement after the game, Rayo Majadahonda said: “Our team will not return to the pitch to resume the match after receiving unacceptable racist insults towards our player. We condemn all types of racist insults in sport.”

They added their “unconditional support” for Sarr in a statement on Sunday while raising their “deep concern and disagreement with the lack of sensitivity shown” following the incident.

“We also want to express our unconditional support for Cheikh Sarr and any member of our club who may be a victim of acts of racism or discrimination,” the club said. “They are not alone. As a club, we will take all the necessary measures to support and protect them.”

Rayo Majadahonda’s president Inaki Acha told Radio Marca that the club will not push for a replay, insisting that it was the team’s decision to end the game: “There has been no pressure from us to play the match again. It was our decision, which the referee has accepted.”

Captain Casado published a post on his social media account following the match stating that the entire squad was “all with Cheick” and added that authorities had tried to force them to resume the match.

“What happened today at the Las Llanas stadium, the home of Sestao River, is shameful,” Casado said.

“A section of the fans racially insulted our teammate Cheick Sarr for his skin colour. In addition, the league (run by the Spanish FA) tried to force us to go out and finish the game. I feel ashamed.

“It seems unbelievable, the year is 2024, and we have brainless people in the stadiums roaming freely. We are all Cheick. No to racism.”

On Saturday night, Sestao released a statement to state that they will work with the authorities on the situation following the allegations.

“Sestao reiterates its most absolute condemnation against racism and violence. We will always comply with all the protocols of the sports law in all its forms: we do not tolerate any type of racism. Racism has no place within our institution, as we have demonstrated in our more than one hundred years of existence.

“We want to call for responsibility and rigor in the face of a very delicate issue that must be treated as such.

“If the alleged racist insults are proven, Sestao will make all its means available to collaborate with sports justice and clarify the responsibilities of whoever corresponds.

“Everyone against racism!”

Earlier on Saturday, Sevilla condemned the “racist and xenophobic abuse” suffered by their player Marcos Acuna and head coach Quique Sanchez Flores during their La Liga clash at Getafe.

The game was stopped in the 68th minute and was delayed for two and a half minutes after ‘monkey’ chants were directed towards Acuna, while Sanchez Flores claims he was called “gypsy” by fans during the match.

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior — who has been targeted with racist abuse regularly in Spanish football in recent seasons — offered his solidarity to Acuna, Sanchez Flores and Sarr, calling for racists to be sent to jail.

“This weekend, I won’t even play. But we had three despicable cases of racism in Spain this Saturday alone,” Vincius posted on social media.

“All my support for Acuna and Quique (Sanchez) Flores, from Sevilla. To Sarr and Majadahonda. May your bravery inspire others. Racists must be exposed and the games cannot continue with them in the stands.

“We will only have victory when the racists leave the stadiums straight to jail, a place they deserve.”


Sevilla condemn racist abuse of Acuna, Sanchez Flores in Getafe game

(Oscar J.Barroso/AFP7/Europa Press via Getty Images)

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories