Madrid file hate crime complaint after Vinicius targeted by racist abuse
Real Madrid say racism directed at Vinicius Jr constitutes a “hate crime” and have filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.
The Brazil forward has highlighted what he describes as “continuous episodes spread across several cities in Spain” after he was the subject of an alleged racist attack during Real’s 1-0 LaLiga defeat at Valencia on Sunday.
Valencia say police have identified a fan who made racist gestures at Vinicius and that individual faces a lifetime stadium ban from the Mestalla.
“Every round away from home is an unpleasant surprise. And there were many this season. Death wishes, hanged doll, many criminal screams… All registered,” Vinicius tweeted on Monday night.
“But the speech always falls on ‘isolated cases’, ‘a fan’. No, these are not isolated cases. They are continuous episodes spread across several cities in Spain (and even in a television programme).
“The evidence is there in the video. Now I ask: how many of these racists had names and photos exposed on websites? I answer to make it easier: zero. None to tell a sad story or make those fake public apologies.
“What is missing to criminalise these people? And punish clubs sportingly? Why don’t sponsors charge La Liga? Don’t televisions bother to broadcast this barbarity every weekend?
“The problem is very serious and communications no longer work. Not blaming me to justify criminal acts either. You are not football, you are inhuman.”
The game was paused after the break as Vinicius pointed out to the referee those who were allegedly abusing him in the stands.
In a strongly-worded statement, his club said: “Real Madrid CF shows its strongest revulsion and condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinicius Junior.
“These facts constitute a direct attack on the coexistence model of our social and democratic state of law.
“Real Madrid considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime, for which reason it has filed the corresponding complaint with the state attorney general’s office, specifically with the prosecutor’s office against hate crimes and discrimination, so that the facts can be investigated and clear responsibilities.
“Article 124 of the Spanish constitution establishes the functions of the public prosecutor’s office to promote the action of justice in defence of legality and the rights of citizens and the public interest.
“For this reason, and given the seriousness of the events that occurred, Real Madrid has turned to the sate attorney general’s office, without prejudice to its appearance as a private prosecution in the proceedings that are being initiated.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, meanwhile, tweeted: “Zero tolerance for racism in football. Sport is based on the values of tolerance and respect. Hate and xenophobia should have no place in our football or in our society.”
In an earlier statement on Instagram, Vinicius said that racism was “normal” in LaLiga.
He said: “It wasn’t the first time, not the second and not the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga.
“The competition thinks it’s normal, so does the Federation and the opponents encourage it. I am so sorry.
“The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi, today belongs to the racists.
“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and I love, but which accepted to export the image to the world from a racist country.
“Sorry for the Spaniards who do not agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.”
LaLiga president Javier Tebas responded to Vinicius’ post on Sunday by accusing the forward of “criticising and insulting” the league.
In another tweet on Monday, Tebas said: “Neither Spain nor @LaLiga are racist. It is very unfair to say this.
“How @LaLiga we denounce and fight racism with all rigidity within our competences. This season there were 9 cases of racist insults (8 of them for insults against @vinijr)
“We always identify the violators and take the complaint to the legislating bodies. It doesn’t matter that they are few, they are relentless.
“We cannot allow the image of a competition that is about the symbol of peoples union to be tarnished, where more than 200 players are of black origin in 42 clubs that receive in each round the respect and affection of the fans, being the racism an extremely specific case (9 complaints) that we are going to eliminate.”
A statement released on Monday from Valencia read: “Valencia CF, in line with the club’s permanent commitment against racism and violence in all forms, announce that the police has identified a fan who made racist gestures at Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr in the Matchday 35 match at Mestalla on May 21st.
“The club are also working along with the police to confirm the identity of any other potential offenders.
“From the moment that the unfortunate events occurred, the club have analysed all the available footage, working alongside the authorities as rapidly as possible to clarify what happened in order to be able to act quickly and forcefully.
“Valencia CF have proceeded to open a disciplinary case, will apply the maximum level of severity, including a lifetime stadium ban against the fans involved, and is working closely together with the authorities.”
Manchester United midfielder Casemiro, a former Real colleague of Vinicius and a Brazil team-mate, called for LaLiga to take urgent action and adopt a policy of zero tolerance over racism.
“I feel disappointed and very sad to see, ashamed, how episodes of racism with my team-mate Vinicius Junior are repeated,” Casemiro wrote on Twitter.
“We cannot continue to tolerate this problem that transcends sport, affects the whole of society and goes unpunished. Public condemnation is not enough, punishment is necessary.
“LaLiga must urgently take exemplary measures, because these repeated incidents of racism tarnish the image not only of Spanish football, but also of all world football.”