Racism does not stop in LaLiga. And Vinicius Jr, Real Madrid striker, exploded on Sunday at Mestalla in the match between Valencia and the white team after receiving racist attacks. It was not the first time that this had happened to the Brazilian, nor was it the only case that has occurred in recent years in the League. To resolve it, the Valencia Prosecutor’s Office has officially launched investigative proceedings for an alleged hate crime. In addition, the AFE (Association of Spanish footballers) and the Movement against Intolerance, Racism and Xenophobia, chaired by Esteban Ibarra, filed a joint complaint. So has Real Madrid, which reported at noon that it has filed a complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office. In a statement published on its website, the club shows “its strongest rejection and condemnation of the events”, which it says “constitute a direct attack on the coexistence model of our social and democratic State of law.” They believe that “such attacks also constitute a hate crime”, for which reason they have filed a complaint so that “the facts are investigated and responsibilities are cleared up.”
Spanish football has a problem that until now no one has been able to tackle. The measures adopted by the clubs as match organizers, the federation sanctioning regulations and the complaints filed with the Prosecutor’s Office have not shown signs of being sufficient to combat racism in Spanish football. For Real Madrid, according to the statement issued on Monday afternoon, the referee De Burgos Bengoetxea did not apply the FIFA protocol that it has articulated for its competitions and that it recommends that they be applied in all countries and in all suspenders. The white club charged against the president of the federation Luis Rubiales for this and for not having been more self-critical in his appearance, in which he condemned racism. “We have a problem, that is the first thing, behavior, education and racism,” said Rubiales, who did admit: “we can all do more”; but he was critical of the delay in complying with the sanctions due to the resources that the clubs raise when they are sanctioned. “I ask the clubs not to delay the procedures. The Disciplinary Committee of the federation will act and must penalize. With the current Sports Law, when its sanctioning regime can be applied, this will not happen ”,
For his part, the president of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, wanted to make it clear on his social networks that “neither Spain nor LaLiga are racist.” “It is very unfair to say that. From LaLiga we denounce racism with all the harshness within our powers. FIFA president Gianni Infantino also jumped into action with a statement detailing his organization’s protocol and how to act. “We need specific education in schools and we must implement the three-step process during matches in cases of racism (stop/stop again/game abandoned, game abandoned) throughout football. We must implement an automatic defeat to the team whose fans have committed racist acts and initiate criminal proceedings against the racists”, demanded Infantino.
“We are surprised by the statements of Luis Rubiales, because being the head of Spanish football and the refereeing establishment, he has allowed that forceful action has not been taken, according to FIFA protocols. Just yesterday, the referee and those responsible for the VAR evaded their responsibilities and made unfair decisions based on incomplete images, which were not seen in their entirety, which were biased and which led to the direct expulsion of our player Vinicius Júnior”, denounced Real Madrid in his writing. The effect of the statement was immediate. The federation fired yesterday the person in charge of the VAR in Mestalla, Iglesias Villanueva, and five other referees in charge of video arbitration. “The VAR has been a disaster this year,” they admit to the Federation.
However, De Burgos Bengoetxea did apply the protocol for actions against racism promulgated by the Higher Sports Council in 2005 and signed by both the federation and LaLiga. The document is similar to that of FIFA and in it the referees are granted the power to suspend matches after two previous steps. What the referee De Burgos Bengoetxea did not do was go to the second in which the referee, after consulting with the captains, the commanders of the Security Forces and Corps deployed, has the possibility of agreeing on the suspension in the event that the incidents continued in question. The insults continued after the first stoppage decreed by De Burgos Bengoetxea and it never stopped. “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 an insult, because we don’t play We stop and we go home ”, proposed Xavi Hernández.
Vinicius has been at it for hours, days and months, even. “I’m sorry for the Spaniards who disagree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists,” the forward of Carlo Ancelotti’s team posted on his social networks. A complaint that the referee collected in the minutes: “In the 73rd minute a spectator from the south stands addressed Vinicius yelling ‘monkey, monkey’, for which the racism protocol was activated, notifying the field delegate so that they could the corresponding announcement over the public address system. The match was stopped for about ten minutes, until said announcement was broadcast over the stadium’s public address system.
Until now, a total of nine complaints of racism against Vinicius had been registered and only two convictions have been carried out. This last cause means that the complaints are already 10 this season. There were no arrests this Sunday, but Valencia has already identified one of the fans who used racist insults at Vinicius; It is not ruled out that there may be some more, reports Maria Fabra. While the work continues, together with the police, to locate the rest of the fans who rebuked the Brazilian, Valencia reported that “the fans who made racist gestures at Vinícius Jr will be expelled from the stadium for life.” “The club strongly condemns this type of behavior, which does not correspond to the values of Valencia CF and its fans,” the Valencian entity added in a statement.
On the other hand, the Permanent Commission of the State Commission against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport, met this Monday at the Higher Sports Council to show its most “absolute rejection” of what happened on the day before in Valencia. “The tasks of analyzing the available images are being carried out to identify the authors of said insults and behaviors in order to propose the corresponding sanctions,” they explain in a note. And remember that this season the Permanent Commission has already proposed sanctions for similar events which, due to their seriousness, amounted to 4,000 euros and included a ban on access to sports venues for a period of one year. In addition, they took the opportunity to demand the “necessary collaboration of the clubs when it comes to identifying the perpetrators of these execrable behaviors”, and also asked them to work on prevention with their fans.
For Vinicius this course has been, in general, a torment every time he has had to play away from the Santiago Bernabéu. In March, he racist chants in El Sadar. The same against Betis at the Benito Villamarín and then against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. In all cases, LaLiga filed a complaint with the investigating courts of Pamplona, Seville and Barcelona. Earlier, in January, in the preview of the Madrid derby of the Copa del Rey, on a bridge near the Real Madrid sports facilities in Valdebebas, a doll appeared hanging with Vinicius’s shirt. The mannequin was accompanied by a banner: “Madrid hates Real.”
But last season, the Brazilian had also been the victim of xenophobic insults. In March 2022, LaLiga filed a complaint with the Hate Prosecutor of the Balearic Islands for the racist shouts against Vinicius. The public ministry, however, filed the complaint. “The expression and sounds made, without a doubt typical of profane and despicable attitudes, as well as vexatious and absolutely rejectable, do not initially seem to cover, for the present case, the public criminal dimension that is postulated,” he concluded.
A few months later, after a Madrid derby, the Madrid Prosecutor’s Office also filed another case after the employer’s complaint. This time, the argument was as follows: “There is no specific act to impute to a specific person and once the insults of a racist nature have been contextualized, they would not constitute a crime against the dignity of the person affected under article 510.2 a) of the CP either” . “What we ask is that the Prosecutor’s Office change once and for all its interpretations. It is allowing the reiteration of this type of behavior. If the prosecution continues filing, it is causing the problem to not be resolved and impunity to grow”, complains Esteban Ibarra, president of the Observatory against Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance.
Not all of Vinicius’s attackers, in any case, have gone unpunished. Valladolid withdrew the subscription from the fans identified by the police who had insulted the Brazilian during the match against Madrid. In February 2023, the Mallorca season ticket holder who had yelled “you’re a monkey” at the Brazilian in the duel between the Balearic team and Real Madrid was punished with a 4,000-euro fine and 12 months without entering a sports venue. “RCD Mallorca is always positioned against any type of insult or racist manifestation and works jointly with La Liga to identify the person responsible for the racist shouting in order to take the appropriate legal measures,” Mallorca had stated, which collaborated to find the person responsible. Exactly the same thing Espanyol had done after Iñaki Williams was attacked in 2020. The Barcelona Hate Crimes Prosecutor requested two years in prison for the Espanyol fan accused of uttering racist insults to humiliate and belittle the Athletic striker.
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