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Vinícius gains more support as La Liga embroiled in racism

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, centre, walks past head coach Carlo Ancelotti, front left, after being sent off the pitch during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Valencia   -  
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Alberto Saiz/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


Spanish soccer is again embroiled in a racism after yet another case of abuse against Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior, with the president of Spain's soccer federation acknowledging that the country has a racism problem and the player's club asking authorities to investigate the latest incident as a hate crime.

Vincius Junior, Real Madrid's Brazilian footballer was subjected to racist abuse yet again on Sunday.

The referee briefly interrupted the Valencia -Real Madrid fixture before sending off the Brazilian striker.

His coach, veteran Carlo Ancelotti was still shocked by the insults heard from the Mestalla stadium' stands.

"The whole stadium was shouting 'monkey, monkey, monkey.' There is not much to say. I am very sad because this never happened to me (as a coach) before - like this, no. This is unacceptable. The Spanish league has a problem and it's not Vinicius. Vinicius is the victim. The problem is very grave."

If the Liga's president criticized Vinícius' comments on social media, the Spanish Footbal Federation backed the 22-year player.

"First of all, we need to admit that we have a problem. A problem of behaviour, of education, of racism," Luis Rubiales, President of the Spanish Football Federation  admitted.

"I want to ask the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation to ignore the irresponsible behaviour of the president of the Spanish Football League, who engaged in a fight on social media with a player who, hours earlier, had received several very serious racist insults.

Players like Kylian Mbappé and clubs have come out to support Vinícius since Sunday. FIFA president GIanni Infantino offered support too and took the opportunity to promote the body's three-step response to incidents of racism during games.

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva condemened the racial abuse as he spoke from Japan.

"I would like to start the press conference by expressing solidarity, to the young, black, Brazilian player who plays at Real Madrid. Yesterday, in a match in Valencia's stadium, he was strongly attacked, and was called a monkey. It is not possible to see racial prejudice gaining strength in several football stadiums in Europe in the middle of the 21st century."


Valencia said it banned one of its fans for life and was looking to identify others who may have insulted Vinícius at Mestalla Stadium.

“From the moment that the unfortunate events occurred, the club has analyzed 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 said in a statement, adding it is working with police to identify more culprits.

Real Madrid asked authorities to investigate the abusive behavior, saying the club believed the incident to be a hate crime.

“Real Madrid strongly condemns the events that took place yesterday (Sunday) against our player,” the club said. “These events represent a direct attack on the social and democratic model of coexistence of our State based on the rule of law.”

Vinicius' ordeal is unfortunately not an exception. Last month, Begian Congolese Romelu Lukaku was also sent off after suffering racist abuse while his team Inter Milan played Juventus.

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