La Liga defends apparent racist gesture by Real Mallorca coach

The actions of a Real Mallorca coach who appeared to make a racist gesture during Sunday’s match against Espanyol have been defended by La Liga, Spanish football’s top division.

Midway through the second half of match, Dani Pastor, the fitness coach at Mallorca, was caught on camera pulling his eyes back to allegedly signal to Japanese player Takefusa Kubo that he should be ready to come onto the pitch as a substitute for an injured teammate.

Real Mallorca and Pastor have not replied to CNN’s repeated requests for comment, both by phone and email. Kubo’s representatives did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

“At La Liga, we do not consider that the intention of this gesture carries a racist attitude,” the league said in a statement to CNN. “It is simply a way to alert the player when he was warming up without any other intention.”

The incident occurred in the 65th minute when Mallorca player Salva Sevilla was receiving treatment for an injury that required him to be replaced.

Kubo is on loan at Mallorca from Real Madrid, which signed the 18-year-old prodigy from FC Tokyo during the summer transfer window.

READ: Spanish star Inaki Williams ‘sad’ after suffering alleged racist abuse from fans in league match

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The teenager has made seven appearances for the Japanese national team and played 21 times for Mallorca so far this season.

Last month, Athletic Bilbao star Inaki Williams suffered alleged racist abuse from Espanyol supporters during the two sides’ La Liga clash.

Williams reported the abuse to his captain Iker Muniain who then informed the referee Jose Sanchez Martinez.

The official, however, made no reference to the incident in his post-match report.

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