Seven men have been detained by the police in Spain following separate racist incidents targeting Real Madrid football player Vinicius Jr. The country’s main football league, LaLiga, has called for changes to Spanish law to address racism in stadiums. Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his support for Vinicius Jr and criticized the “obsolete” protocols in dealing with racism in the sport.
The first incident under investigation involved an inflatable effigy dressed in Vinicius Jr’s No. 20 jersey that was hung from a bridge near the club’s training grounds. Accompanying it was a large red and white banner, the colors of rival team Atletico Madrid, with the message “Madrid hates Real.” Four individuals were arrested in Madrid, three of whom were identified as members of a radical fan group previously labeled as “high risk” due to their potential for violence during matches.
Additionally, three men were arrested in Valencia for racist conduct directed at Vinicius Jr during a match between Valencia and Real Madrid. The arrests come in response to a race-crime complaint lodged by Real Madrid and following comments from Luis Rubiales, the chief of the Spanish football federation, acknowledging the existence of a racism problem in Spanish football.
Vinicius Jr responded to the racist abuse in a social media post, describing it as “inhuman.” He called on sponsors and broadcasters to hold LaLiga accountable for addressing the issue. Carlo Ancelotti echoed Vinicius Jr’s sentiments and expressed his willingness to take his players off the pitch if they face further abuse during games.
The incidents have sparked discussions regarding the need for stronger measures to combat racism in Spanish football. LaLiga has urged changes to the country’s laws, hoping to gain the ability to take effective action against racism within stadiums. The current protocols have been criticized as outdated and insufficient in addressing the growing problem.
As the investigation continues and efforts are made to tackle racism in football, the arrests and the public outcry against the incidents involving Vinicius Jr serve as a reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive measures to eradicate racism from the sport.