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Espanyol identify 12 fans who racially insulted player

Racism in football

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 25: David Lopez and Marc Roca of RCD Espanyol competes for the ball with Inaki Williams of Athletic Club during the Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Athletic Club at RCDE Stadium on January 25, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

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BARCELONA, Spain -- Spanish club Espanyol says it has identified 12 fans who racially insulted an Athletic Bilbao player in the Spanish league last weekend.

Espanyol said on Monday in a statement that nine of the fans were club members and would face punishment that could include suspension or a full-time ban.

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It said a report of its analysis of the video images of Saturday’s game at RCDE Stadium were sent to authorities.

The club reiterated its “categorical condemnation of any displays of violence and racism.”

The fans made monkey noises directed at Athletic forward Inaki Williams, who is black. Television images showed Williams confronting the section of Espanyol fans who taunted him after he was substituted late in the game in Barcelona.

The Spanish league said it will seek a partial stadium closure for Espanyol and will raise the incident with the Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee, which handles disciplinary issues.