While in Spain much of the debate surrounding the racist attacks suffered by Vinicius this Sunday at the Mestalla focused on the Brazilian’s reactions, the player received a multitude of support from outside in the following hours. Political leaders, soccer players and sports leaders spoke out, such as the head of world soccer, the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, who posted a long message on his Instagram account: “All our solidarity with Vinicius. There is no place for racism in football or in society, and FIFA supports all the players who have suffered it firsthand. The events that occurred during the match between Valencia and Real Madrid show how crucial this fight is.”
Shortly after, the president of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, who on Sunday night reproached the player for not knowing his powers in this matter, wrote a new message on Twitter to defend his institution from the footballer’s complaints: “We cannot allow the image of a competition that is above all a symbol of union between peoples, where more than 200 black players in 42 clubs receive the respect and affection of all the fans every day, with racism being an extremely specific case (ten denunciations) that we are going to eradicate”.
1) Neither Spain nor @The league They are racists, it is very unfair to say that.
2) From @The league we denounce and prosecute racism with all the harshness within our powers.
3) This season racist insults have been reported 9 times (8 of them have been for insults against… https://t.co/KFXHOJv6cb
— Javier Tebas Medrano (@Tebasjavier) May 22, 2023
Already on Sunday night, the footballer received the support of the President of Brazil, Lula da Silva: “We cannot allow fascism and racism to take root in football stadiums,” he said at the G-7 meeting in Hiroshima. The issue had reached the agenda of the largest center of international power, after running halfway around the world.
The president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, also spoke on Monday “on a matter that has acquired a dimension beyond football.” Rubiales, who did not admit questions, assured: “We have a problem, that is the first thing, behavior, education and racism. As long as there is a single undesirable or a group that insults based on sexual condition, skin color or creed, we have a serious problem, which also stains an entire team, a hobby, a club and a country”.
“Vinicius Junior or any footballer, man or woman, who suffers an insult due to racism or any act of violence has my support and that of the federation,” Rubiales continued. Following his criticism, the federation boss also invited his Brazilian counterpart, Ednaldo Rodrigues, to discuss and see how the Spanish football federation combats racism. In this sense, Rubiales complained about the clubs and the old Sports Law. “With the previous law, it was possible to sanction from an administrative body and the sanction of the federation was invalidated. There have been sanctions from partially or totally closed states, where the sanction has been delayed due to resources. I ask the clubs not to delay the procedures. The Disciplinary Committee of the federation will act and must penalize. The federation’s response must exist, but they must let us apply it.” Rubiales did not ignore Javier Tebas’s reaction to Vinicius’ criticism. I want to ask Ednaldo Rodrigues to ignore the irresponsible behavior of the president of the League, who got into an argument with a footballer who had just received racist insults. Managers are not here to enter social networks, it was not the time, “Rubiales criticized.
Xavi: “You have to stop the matches”
“Not saying anything is being an accomplice,” published Mouctar Diakhaby, a Valencia player; “Of course I support Vinicius against the racist insults he received from some fans. And I hope that my club does what is necessary to strongly penalize those who committed these acts.” Neither did Xavi Hernández, Barcelona coach, bite his tongue, who advocated being blunt and stopping the games. A message that, he said, was intended for both the president of the League and the Federation. “The insult has been accepted, and football is the only sport in which it is accepted: I’m working and they call me the son of such… I don’t see a baker or a journalist putting up with that. There is insult, because it is not played. I don’t see it in another profession, or in another sport. In golf, in tennis, it doesn’t happen. Enough already. We stop and go home. Insult a worker and you will see: he throws a brick at your head. I don’t have to put up with insults and impudence of all kinds during my working hours. You have to say enough.” Xavi believes, however, that although there are acts of racism, and people need to be better educated, Spain “is not a racist country.”
This Monday morning, the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, also spoke: “Spain is not a racist country; This same thing also occurs in offenses against the King and against many other people. Soccer fields can never become this, I don’t know if of course (to avoid it), paralyzing the game and taking measures, but we all have to take care of this a bit because otherwise the image that is transferred is really harmful and, On top of that, it’s a lie.”
The Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, has also “roundly” condemned the “racist attacks and assaults” on the Real Madrid player and calls for a “great social cordon against racism and xenophobia”. Montero believes that this type of attitude is a consequence of the normalization of “hate speech, racist speech, xenophobic speech, as was seen the other day by Ana Rosa Quintana, a presenter for the prime time”. Quintana said, when he was collecting the Gold Medal in Madrid, that he had grown up in “the working-class neighborhood” of Usera “before it was Chinatown.”
From England, the former soccer player Rio Ferdinand was one of the most forceful: “How many times do we have to see this boy subjected to this shit?” He wrote on his networks, from where he asked LaLiga, UEFA and FIFA for support. “Brother, you need protection… Who is protecting Vinicius in Spain? They red him after being strangled and receiving racist attacks during the match…”. Gary Lineker, also a former soccer player, responded to Ferdinand on Twitter and shared his concern: “Once again, the soccer player who suffers abuse is the only person punished.”
Other support received by Vinicius from England came from the footballers’ union there, PFA, which published a statement calling for action from the authorities: “When people demonstrate against racism, or talk about their personal experiences of discrimination , it is imperative that the authorities do not just listen and offer sympathy or condemnation. They must execute immediate, decisive and effective actions”.
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