Racism Receives Red Card

25 May 2023

Brazilian and Real Madrid footballer, Vinicius Junior has been pushed to the edge through the course of the La Liga season with repeated incidents of racism across the country of Spain. The Brazilian has always been a strong voice in the face of racism in football, but the Spanish League Federation has not acted in the same way and has not enforced laws to prevent racism from occurring. The incident involving Vinicius, and a few other Real Madrid footballers, took place in a match between Madrid and Valencia on 20 May at 5pm. It was mid-game when Vinicius Junior received the racist abuse coming from the Valencia fans behind the goal. This incident resulted in Vinicius receiving a red card which is what caused an uproar among millions of fans. 

Although Valencia have been fined 45,000 euros for the racist abuse in Sunday’s match, only 2 fans have been banned. The Spanish Federation thought that a five year ban was a fair punishment for the racist acts on Sunday. However, head of PE at The Beacon School, Mr. Williams, said, “Both players and fans should receive lifetime bans for racist abuse.” This was a common opinion amongst the staff at The Beacon, with most believing that there is no excuse for racism in football or anywhere else. In addition to this, various staff in the Sports Department believe there should be a fine as well for inexcusable behaviour at a football game in addition to greater education about racism. When filling out a survey, Head of Games, Mr. Robinson, wrote, “There should be some form of rehabilitation and education for the offender.” 

Although only a tiny minority of fans have been racist in football matches, racism is still a common and increasingly worrying topic in football with many fans not learning from past events and many players still being racially abused online or in-game. But is there another side to this? Statistics show that racism has decreased by 32% since 2005. Despite this hopeful statistic, Vinicius Jr himself commented, “Racism is normal in La Liga. La Liga belongs to the racists.” This is not a good impression on the face of the board of La Liga. Of course, La Liga isn’t the only league where racist abuse has occurred, but other leagues such as the Premier League and Ligue 1 have dealt with racism and put a stop to it. This isn’t good for La Liga’s brand face, with players now put off by transferring to Spain, after hearing the actions made by certain fans.

What will La Liga do to put a stop to their racist reputation? FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, responded to La Liga by saying, “Stop talking. Start acting!” Is this the attitude that the football fans of Spain should have? And will these disappointing events finally set things right in La Liga and spread awareness across Spain? Vinicius Jr is certainly not the first to receive racist abuse in La Liga but the football community is hoping that he is the last.

By Ben S and Zac S

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