After calling Vinicius a "monkey", La Liga admits Spain is a "racist country

By: naniohogugoaphl May. 30,2023

The Brazilian government summoned the Spanish ambassador to clarify the lewd insult against soccer star Vinicius Jr. and on Monday, Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales admitted that Spanish soccer is racist.

The Spanish league is under pressure to do more to combat racism after the Brazilian president and FIFA - in addition to stars such as Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton - -have all expressed their support for the Brazilian player.

In a post on social media, Vinicius called the racist act "inhumane" and called on sponsors and broadcasters to hold the Spanish Primera Division accountable.

Vinicius said, "What is missing to criminalize these people? What is the punishment for the club in sports? Why don't the sponsors blame La Liga (about what is happening)? Won't the TV stations be upset when these barbaric (acts) are broadcast every weekend?"

The statement came a day after a 10-minute suspension of the match at Valencia's Mestalla stadium, before the 22-year-old striker referred to the fan who allegedly made racist remarks against him.

The Brazilian star added, "The problem is so serious that press statements are no longer useful and don't blame me for defending these crimes."

Vinicius, Real Madrid's second scorer this season (23 goals) behind Benzema with two, described Spain as a "country of racists" after Sunday's match against Valencia.

This prompted a reaction on Twitter from La Liga president Javier Tebas, who tweeted that the league had done enough and Vinicius had to tell himself "before you criticize and misrepresent the league".

Speaking at a press conference in Madrid, Rubiales said, "First of all, it is important to acknowledge that we have a problem in the country, a serious problem that also taints the entire team, the entire fan base, the entire club and the entire country."

Turning into a political crisis
Today, the Brazilian government summoned the Spanish ambassador to clarify the incident, with the Foreign Ministry saying in a statement that after "another unacceptable incident" it had concluded that the Spanish authorities had not taken effective measures to prevent such racist behavior.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted that "there must be zero tolerance for racism in soccer."

Sánchez added that "sport is based on the values of tolerance and respect, and hatred and xenophobia should not be present in our soccer and in our society."

The Spanish Sports Commission had said in a previous statement that it would study footage of the match to summon any perpetrators to appear in court.

Video posted on social media and verified by Reuters showed hundreds of Valencia fans chanting "Vinicius is a monkey" as the Real Madrid bus arrived at the stadium before the match.

Vinicius tweeted after the game, "I'm sorry for the Spaniards who disagree (with what I'm about to say), but today in Brazil, Spain is defined as a country of racists."

The president of the Spanish Football Federation criticized Tebas' comments, calling them "irresponsible."

Rubiales said, "Vinicius is more likely to be right than we think, and we all need to do more about racism."

Multiple incidents
Real Madrid said earlier today that it had filed a hate crime complaint following the Valencia incident, the tenth in a series of racist incidents against Vinicius that prosecutors have been informed of this season, according to the Spanish league.

Valencia said in a statement that it had identified one fan and was working with police to identify others, adding that he would impose penalties on those involved, which could include a lifetime ban from the stadium.

Spanish police are also investigating a possible hate crime against Vinicius after an anthropomorphic mannequin wearing the player's No. 20 shirt hung from a bridge outside Real Madrid's training ground in January ahead of their derby against Atletico Madrid.

Last September, during another match against Atletico Madrid, prosecutors ruled out a lawsuit over racist slogans against the player.

The prosecution dismissed the case because the "monkey" slogan was repeated only twice and "lasted only a few seconds," highlighting how Spain's criminal law makes it difficult to prosecute racist incidents at soccer matches.

Spanish journalist and anti-racism activist Moja Giroud said, "La Liga is using these legal cases to clear itself [of what is happening], even though it already has the power to make its own decisions and impose sanctions."

Moja Giroud added, "In this case, the league must have the right to close the stadium and force some games without spectators because of the pressure it puts on the clubs and the fans themselves."

According to the Ministry of Interior, the Spanish Prosecutor's Office has only officially investigated three racist incidents during the 2021-2022 season, and under current rules, those found guilty of racist behavior can be fined up to €4,000 ($4,403) and banned from stadiums for one year.

There is growing momentum within Spain to do more to address the issue, with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva calling on FIFA and La Liga to "take real action.

Hamilton - the seven-time F1 world champion - backed Vinicius via Instagram, shouting to him, "I stand with you, little Vinicius."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino expressed his "full support" and called on the Spanish league to implement a rule that would deduct points from clubs if fans continued to make racist slogans.

On the other hand, Barcelona coach Javi Hernandez called for decisive measures against things like what is happening and said, "You have to stop the game ...... One person's insult will send everyone home."
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