Rhys Williams alleged racial abuse: what happened to the Liverpool defender as Swansea manager gives update

Bedfordshire Police has launched an investigation into the matter and the Reds have shown their support.

Swansea City head coach Russell Martin declared that the alleged racial abuse that on-loan Liverpool defender Rhys Williams received was ‘completely unacceptable’.

The incident happened during the Swans’ 3-3 draw at Luton Town in the Championship on Saturday.

What’s been said

Williams was substituted at half-time and was affected by words from a home fan at Kenilworth Road towards the end of the clash.

The visitors had fought from three goals down at the interval to pick up an unlikely point.

Bedfordshire Police has launched an investigation into the matter.

Speaking to Wales Online, Martin said: “The guys really supported him on the day. The team-mates around him were disgusted and we had to calm a few of the players down quickly in the dugout area.

“But they’re right to feel angry. They’re right to feel completely disgusted and they’re right to stick up for their team-mate.

“I had a good chat with him yesterday. He’s really disappointed.

Rhys Williams. Picture: Rui Vieira - Pool/Getty Images

“It was brewing a little bit, after we scored our goals. He was getting abused by the guy throughout the first half. Not racially, but there was a bit of animosity there. It affected his performance for sure.

“It threw him a little bit and it finally ended with him being abused for the colour of his skin. It’s completely unacceptable.

“He appreciates how the club have dealt with it. They got on top of it right away. Liverpool were informed really quickly, Luton were really good in their handling of it. Let’s hope that the right outcome is reached.”

What have Liverpool said

Reacting to Swansea City’s statement they released on Saturday, the Reds showed their support for Williams.

A post from Liverpool’s Twitter account said: “We’re with you, @rhyswilliams01. #RedTogether”

What have Luton Town said

The Hatters have insisted anyone found guilty will be banned from attending Kenilworth Road in the future.

A club statement said: “Luton Town Football Club is aware of an allegation made of a racist comment aimed at Swansea City defender Rhys Williams by a spectator during today’s game at Kenilworth Road.

A general view of Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road ground. Picture: James Chance/Getty Images

“The allegation is currently being investigated by club officials, in co-operation with Swansea City and Bedfordshire Police.

“Luton Town abhors racism and with our stadium situated in one of the most racially and culturally diverse areas of the country, we are proud of our historical record in fighting it.

“The club has, and always will have, a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination of any kind. It is not acceptable towards anyone in football or wider society, either online or in person, and we will continue to work with the police with their enquiries in this matter. We are also offering Rhys and Swansea our full support.

“Any person found to have made discriminatory comments will have the strictest sanctions imposed by the club, and will not be welcome back at Kenilworth Road.”

Background

Williams is a product of Liverpool’s academy, having been at the club since the age of 10.

Last season, the 20-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough campaign due to a defensive crisis.

With Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all suffering long-term injuries, Williams made 19 appearances in all competitions.

He helped Jurgen Klopp’s side securing a third-place finish in the Premier League.

Williams moved to Swansea on summer transfer deadline day to garner more senior experience.

He put pen to paper on a new long-term deal at Anfield before his loan switch.

The centre-half has made two appearances for the south Wales side so far.