In a shocking turn of events, Spanish authorities apprehended seven individuals on Tuesday, following a series of racially charged incidents targeted at Real Madrid’s star player, Vinicius Jr.
This development comes as LaLiga, Spain’s premier football league, calls for amendments to Spanish law that would empower it to take decisive action against racism in football stadiums.
The incidents have sparked outrage within the football community, with Real Madrid’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, voicing his support for Vinicius Jr.
Ancelotti criticized Spain’s outdated measures to combat racism in football, hinting at the possibility of leading his team off the pitch if such incidents were to recur.
The controversy reached fever pitch when an inflatable effigy, donning Vinicius Jr’s No. 20 jersey, was found hanging from a bridge near Real Madrid’s training grounds. Accompanying the effigy was a 16m banner in the colors of rival team Atletico Madrid, bearing the provocative message, “Madrid hates Real.”
Spanish Police Crack Down on Racist Fans Targeting Vinicius Jr
Among the seven men arrested, four were apprehended in Madrid, including three identified as members of a radical fan group linked to a Madrid club.
These individuals had previously been flagged as “high risk” during matches to prevent potential violence. Additionally, three men were taken into custody in Valencia for racially offensive conduct directed at Vinicius during a match between Valencia and Real Madrid.
These arrests come on the heels of a statement by football federation chief Luis Rubiales, acknowledging the existence of a racism problem within Spanish football.
This statement followed a race-crime complaint lodged by Real Madrid after Vinicius Jr was subjected to racial slurs during a Spanish league match on Sunday.
In response to the abuse, Vinicius Jr took to social media to condemn the “inhuman” treatment and urged sponsors and broadcasters to hold LaLiga accountable.
LaLiga, under increasing pressure to act, expressed its frustration at its inability to tackle the issue effectively due to limitations imposed by Spanish legislation. The league’s current mandate restricts it to merely identifying and reporting racist incidents.
In a statement, LaLiga highlighted several incidents involving black players, including nine against Vinicius, which failed to reach trial due to insufficient evidence.
The league is now advocating for a change in the law that would enable it to take more proactive measures against racism.
Vinicius Jr has expressed disappointment at LaLiga’s lack of pressure on the Spanish football federation, which possesses the authority to enforce stadium closures and bans.
Despite the federation’s ability to cancel a match if racist insults persist after a 10-minute warning period, this measure has yet to be enforced in Spain.
As the football world watches, the question remains: Will these incidents serve as a catalyst for change in Spanish football, or will they be swept under the rug, perpetuating a culture of silence and inaction? Only time will tell.