By Online Sports Reporter
The latest incident of racist abuse towards Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr has been reported to the Spanish prosecutor’s office as a hate crime, the club says.
Real’s La Liga match at Valencia on Sunday was paused in the second half as an incensed Vinicius reported opposition fans to the referee.
Following the match, in which the 22-year-old Brazil international was later sent off for violent conduct, he said “La Liga belongs to racists”.
Real Madrid issued a statement on Monday stating that it “considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime”.
Spanish prosecutors will now decide whether to pursue a criminal investigation.
“Real Madrid shows its strongest revulsion and condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinicius Junior,” the club said.
“These facts constitute a direct attack on the coexistence model of our social and democratic state of law.”
Vinicius has been the target of racist abuse multiple times this season.
La Liga said in a statement it would investigate and take “appropriate legal action” if a hate crime was identified, calling on people to submit any relevant footage.
Valencia said police had “identified a fan who made racist gestures” and that the “club are also working along with the police to confirm the identity of any other potential offenders”.
The club added: “Valencia CF has proceeded to open a disciplinary case, will apply the maximum level of severity, including a lifetime stadium ban against the fans involved, and is working closely together with the authorities.”
Vinicius and Tebas Twitter row
Writing on social media after the match, Vinicius said: “The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano, and Messi today belongs to racists.”
He then exchanged messages with La Liga president Javier Tebas.
Writing on Twitter, Tebas said Vinicius twice did not turn up for a meeting to discuss what it “can do in cases of racism”.
“Before you criticize and slander La Liga, you need to inform yourself properly,” Tebas said.
Vinicius criticized the post for targeting him instead of the “racists”, saying he wanted La Liga to take “actions and punishments”.
Tebas then replied: “Neither Spain nor La Liga are racist, it is very unfair to say that.
“We have reported nine instances of racist insults this season (eight have been against Vinicius). We always identify the thugs responsible and take the complaints to the relevant bodies who have the power to punish them. No matter how few they are, our efforts are relentless.”
He added: “We cannot allow the reputation of a competition which is above all a symbol of unity between communities, where over 200 black players from 42 clubs are welcomed with respect and love from fans every week, to be tarnished.
“Cases of racism are an extremely rare occurrence (nine reports) which we are committed to eliminating altogether.”
The racist abuse that Vinicius has had to deal with this season
- September 2022 – Some Atletico Madrid fans sang racist songs toward Vinicius outside their Wanda Metropolitano stadium before Real Madrid played them in September 2022. Atletico Madrid later condemned “unacceptable” chants by a “minority” of fans
- September 2022 – Some pundits in Spain criticize Vinicius’ goal celebration, in which he dances by the corner flag. He responds by saying “the happiness of a black Brazilian in Europe” is behind the criticism
- December 2022 – Vinicius appeared to be subjected to racist abuse at Valladolid while he walked past fans after being substituted. La Liga said it has filed charges relating to the racist abuse of Vinicius to the “relevant judicial, administrative and sporting bodies”
- January 2023 – An effigy of the Real Madrid winger was hung from a bridge near the club’s training ground before a game against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey. Atletico said the incident was “repugnant”
- February 2023 – Mallorca fans were filmed allegedly racially abusing the Brazilian during a game against Real
- March 2023 – La Liga said “intolerable racist behavior was once again observed against Vinicius” in a match against Barcelona and it reported the racist insults to the Barcelona Court of Instruction
- May 2023 – Vinicius suffers racist abuse against Valencia – BBC SPORTS