Racing Santander players boycott Copa del Rey match over unpaid wages | inside World Soccer

Racing Santander's Copa del Rey match against Real Sociedad on Thursday was suspended in the first minute as Racing players refused to play.

Racing Santander players refuse to play at the start of their match against Real Sociedad
Racing Santander players refuse to play at the start of their match against Real Sociedad

Photo: MARCA

The Racing players released a joint statement on Monday announcing they would boycott the quarter-final second leg unless President Ángel Lavín and his board stepped down.

In the statement, Racing captain Mario Fernández cited up to six months of unpaid wages as the reason for the decision.

With still no response to that ultimatum throughout the week, Racing players took to the pitch on Thursday but refused to play.

As soon as referee Jesús Gil Manzano blew his whistle to signal the start of the match, the Racing players moved in and stood arm in arm around the centre circle.

The coaches and substitutes also linked arms on the sidelines and after Sociedad passed the ball among themselves for a short while, they kicked the ball out for a throw-in.

And when none of the Racing players refused to take the throw-in, the referee decided to suspend the match.

The Racing players were embraced by their opponents, who shook their hands and hugged them, before they were applauded and cheered by the home fans.

Racing coach Paco Fernández said after the game: "I would like to thank everyone for the support we have received this week.

"It wasn't an easy decision, but with the backing we've had it has been much better and has given us a lot of strength as sportsmen and representatives of a historic club like this one.

"We felt we had to take this measure, especially because of the many children that are beginning to feel what the Racing colours mean. I hope their parents can explain it to them tomorrow, or in the future."


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