Espanyol president Collet denies Neymar racism claim

Barcelona, Jan 4 (IANS) Espanyol football club’s president Joan Collet on Monday said there were no racist chants hurled at FC Barcelona striker Neymar during their La Liga encounter which ended in a goalless draw.

Former Barcelona board member Toni Freixa posted on Twitter on Saturday: “I trust that the racist chants which Neymar was subjected to have been carefully noted in the referee’s report.”

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta also echoed the same sentiments as those of Freixa, saying he heard it “in one corner, in the first half, from one supporter.”

But, Collet denied all the accusations.

“I was there, just like 30,000 people and nothing happened,” he was quoted as saying by goal.com.

“The whole thing blows up for one shout, but there was nothing generalised, it’s a lie.”

“It was a high-risk game and there weren’t any incidents. The attitude of the fans was admirable. It was a game we can feel proud about and it makes us very excited about the future.”

Collet also took a dig at some sections of the Barcelona management, alleging that they bring out such accusations when their side fails to win.

“It’s a disgrace that the usual suspects here start up the nationalist pro-Barcelona machinery. I’ve not heard anything from the Barca players or the coach, but I have from all the usual suspects,” he said.

“When something happens, they bring out the topic of violence and it’s a disgrace. It’s a lie that we were violent. Every time they don’t win it’s the same commentary.”

“Only a few see this violence and they try and justify not winning. It was a normal game and I think the referee was spot on and didn’t see any sending-off offences,” concluded Collet.

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