Real Madrid Files Hate Crime Complaint After Vinicius Junior Faces More Racist Chants From Fans
There have been nine complaints in the last two years about fans racially abusing the 22-year-old Brazilian star, who is said to be "at the limit" with the Spanish league
Real Madrid has filed a hate crime complaint with local authorities in Spain after fans at a game in Valencia hurled racist taunts towards player Vinicius Junior.
The latest incident of fans' racist taunting towards the 22-year-old Brazilian soccer star has engulfed the sport and has been condemned by players, coaches, and politicians around the world.
The game Sunday, between Real Madrid and Valencia, was stopped for several minutes as Vinicius Junior pointed out at least one individual fan sitting behind the net who he told LaLiga referees was responsible for using racist insults.
After the game resumed, the crowd made racist chants towards Vinicius Junior, who is Black.
"It wasn't the first time, not the second and not the third," Vinicius wrote in an Instagram post after the game. "Racism is normal in LaLiga. The competition thinks it's normal, so does the Federation and the opponents encourage it. I am so sorry. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi, today belongs to the racists."
Real Madrid condemned the fans' actions in a statement, calling their words "a direct attack on the coexistence model of our social and democratic state of law." The club said it filed a hate crime complaint with the State Attorney General's Office. In their own statement, Valencia also condemned their fans' racist taunts and said those responsible will be banned "for life," adding that Sunday's incident "has no place in football."
This is the ninth complaint about racial abuse towards Vinicius Junior in the past two seasons, according to ESPN. The outlet reported Vinicius Junior has considered leaving Real Madrid because of the repeated racist incidents, with one source telling ESPN the star player is "at the limit."
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LaLiga president Javier Tebas responded to Vinicius Junior's post-game remarks on Twitter, claiming, "neither Spain nor LaLiga are racist" and saying the player's categorizations were "unfair."
But most figures backed Vinicius Junior after the game, including Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The president pleaded with soccer officials and federations "take measures so we don't allow racism and facism to take over" the game, according to The Associated Press.
"It is not fair that a poor boy who is winning in his life, becoming one of the best in the world, certainly the best at Real Madrid, is insulted in every stadium he goes to," the Brazilian president said.
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Vinicius Junior's management agency. TFM, also spoke out against the repeated incidents.
"This is just another reflection of what has been seen throughout this [LaLiga] season, in which it became clear to the world that in entire Spain, they do not accept the role of a young black man," the agency wrote in an Instagram post. "Who do not accept that the most decisive and relevant athlete in [LaLiga] is a young black man."
"This has gone beyond football and this is not the first time," Luis Rubiales, the head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, said in a statement, adding that "Spain has a problem with racism."
"This is an educational problem in our country, of racism," Rubiales said, "and while we have one fan or any group of fans insulting players because of their sexual orientation or the color of their skin, then we have a serious problem that stains an entire team, all fans and this entire country."
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