St Helens forward Chantelle Crowl opens up on racial abuse on holiday: ‘There was no help and we just felt so alone’

Josh McAllister
Chantelle Crowl, PA.

PHOTO: Richard Sellers/PA Archive/PA Images

St Helens and England forward Chantelle Crowl has opened up on her nightmare experience in Spain after she was ‘racially and physically abused’ by hotel staff.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the 2021 treble winner with St Helens said she was ‘repeatedly hit’ by staff members at a hotel in Lloret De Mar.

The 30-year-old forward first shared the incident on social media with marks on her face earlier in June, and has since opened up on the nightmare experience.

“At the pool, the lifeguard was making racist remarks and was really aggressive towards me and was telling my wife that she needed to tell her friend to ‘shut up’ and this and that,” she told BBC Sport.

“I got a bit upset and we went to make a complaint and the lady on the desk seemed sympathetic and was writing the details down.

“The manager came out from behind his desk and ripped it up and shouted ‘get out’ using the same racial slurs.

“I started to record him on my phone and he ripped it from out of my hand and gripped my face where I have two claw marks.”

Chantelle Crowl shared image on social media following attack

Having named the hotel – Blue Sea Montevista Hawai – the BBC reported that they were “aware of the incident and were awaiting any police and judicial proceedings, if necessary, while collaborating to clarify the facts.”

Crowl, an England international who featured at the 2017 World Cup, has since missed games against Wigan and the 36-0 Challenge Cup win over Warrington upon her return.

She continued: “We got all of our luggage and everything together and on the way out of the hotel, the manager was stood with a handyman or electrician of the hotel that goes and fixes problems.

“They followed us out. I had a weird feeling but we were just trying to get out of there and when we got to by the roadside he [the handyman] just turned around and punched me in the face.

“He tried to take my suitcase so my wife had to grip onto it. He broke the [metal] bar off the suitcase and then repeatedly hit me in the face with it. He hit also me in the back as I tried to cover myself.

“Some of the Spanish people around on the street… witnesses got in his face and were shouting ‘no, no’ and he ran off.

“It is dreadful to live through.”

Crowl then attended the police station in Lloret De Mar, but felt like she was in a “no-win” situation.

“They didn’t get me checked out medically or anything like that,” she said. “They were keen to get me to not press charges in any type of way by scaring me that I wouldn’t be able get home.

“They brought a translator and basically told me, you make no statement and he makes no statement, or you have to stay longer and can’t leave on your flight on Wednesday and I’d have to go back to Spain for court.

“The police also said because the hotel manager had indicated that he’d hurt his arm or finger when he grabbed and threw my phone, that if we were to make a statement he could do the same about that and we wouldn’t be able to leave.

“It was a no-win situation. There was no help and we just felt so alone.”

St Helens head coach in support of star player 

St Helens Women head coach and ex-England international half-back Matty Smith recently shared his support for Toronto-born Crowl.

The now 35-year-old was appointed as the side’s head coach ahead of the 2023 campaign, having won the Challenge Cup, Super League and the Lance Todd trophy in his career.

“The incident that happened over in Lloret De Mar is obviously not nice,” Smith said.

“Chantelle is a great character and she’s been outstanding for me in this first part of the season. She plays really well, plays long minutes and is a bubbly character.

“What has happened over there to her is not a nice thing and it’s well documented.

“She’s voiced her opinion on social media and everyone’s seen that and we as a club support her and we’ll be there for her, whatever she needs.

“Just to get that smile back on her face and get her back playing is the most important thing for her, and for us it’s definitely her wellbeing first and foremost, and then getting her back playing as soon as we can.”

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