Is Vinicius Jr Abuse The Last Straw for Racism in La Liga?

25 May 2023

On Sunday, Vinicius Jr was racially abused yet again, and the sporting community has had enough. But will the problem in Spain be solved and, if so, how?

During Real Madrid’s defeat to Valencia on Sunday, the game was halted as Madrid winger Vinicius Junior was once again abused by Valencia fans making racist gestures towards him. A large proportion of the fans inside the stadium then were singing offensive chants directed towards the Brazilian. Since then, the football community has supported the winger with inspiring messages online.

In a powerful message on Twitter, Vinicius’ Brazilian teammate and ex-Real Madrid teammate Casemiro wrote “La Liga must urgently take exemplary measures, because these repeated incidents of racism tarnish the image not only of Spanish football, but also of the whole of world football. And the feeling must be unanimous: zero tolerance!!!!”

Vinicius’ manager Carlo Ancelotti said that football is “not war, it’s sport.”

Vinicius himself wrote an emotional note online, in which he said that La Liga now “belongs to racists.”

We spoke to two people who have lived in Spain, and witnessed football matches in La Liga. The Chief Executive of a marketing company in Spain, a Real Madrid fan, had this to say: “The international media is a bit unfair. Spain is not a racist country. The Spanish are feeling hurt by the coverage. But the worst version of people use football to vent their feelings. They don’t go to tennis or basketball but they go to the sport that has mass gatherings. Spain is a football country so the worst version of people use football as their vehicle.”

We then indirectly got in touch with La Liga, who told us that they have banned the following hooligan groups as a result of violence or discrimination:

Ultras Sud (Madrid)

Frente Athletico (Athletico)

The Ultras Sud (Madrid)

Yomus (Valencia)

“It’s the same as when England fans travel and cause trouble. We are seen as a country full of hooligans. Spain is seen as a country of racists. The FA tries its hardest to find them and ban them. La Liga is doing the same but it doesn’t mean that Spain is racist and it doesn’t mean we are a country FULL of hooligans. Madrid is seen as the most powerful city in Spain. La Liga is very sensitive to what Real Madrid wants because Madrid dominates the country.”

Madrid are seen as the most powerful city in Spain. La Liga is very sensitive to what real Madrid wants because Madrid dominates the country.”

La Liga say they do not by law allow being a member of a known faction into grounds.

We also spoke to someone that lived in Spain who said this: “I do think Spain has a problem [with racism]. Spain has a lot of things it has to do to modernize.” She recalls seeing North African students being racially abused on the streets.

By George H and Freddie K

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