Vinícius Jr.’s Racist Abuse: Seven People Have Been Arrested As At Now

Vincius Jr.

On Tuesday, May 23, seven people were taken into custody in connection with this season’s incidents of racial abuse directed at Real Madrid star Vincius Jr.

Spanish police said four young fellows had been detained for allegedly hanging an effigy of Vinícius off a bridge in Madrid in January, while three others were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the racist insults aimed at the Brazilian during Sunday’s match against Valencia. Both incidents are being treated as hate crimes.

The incident with the effigy occurred in the Spanish capital near Real’s training center ahead of the team’s Copa del Rey quarterfinal against Atlético Madrid on January 26.

In videos which were widely viewed on social media, the effigy – which was dressed in a Real Madrid shirt with Vinícius’ name and No. 20 on the back – was shown hanging along with a banner which read: “Madrid hates Real.”

“Three of those arrested are active members of a radical fan group of a football club from Madrid,” the police statement read.

“The investigation carried out by police through evidence gathered, witnesses and open-source digital research, among other things, led to the identification of the four men suspected of the crime.”

In addition, according to the police statement, the three ultra-fans had previously been identified at matches that had been designated as “high risk” in the police’s efforts to curb sports violence.

The incident at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium resulted in the arrest of three suspects between the ages of 18 and 21 at three distinct locations.

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During La Liga matches over the past two seasons, Vincius has been the target of racial abuse from the stands on numerous occasions, most recently against Valencia on Sunday.

The incident was described in the official game report by the referee, who noted that a fan had yelled “monkey, monkey” at Vincius in the second half. DAZN Espaa’s match video also shows that the Real Madrid star was called a variety of other racist names during the game.

Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva came to Vinícius’ defense on Monday, “not possible that almost in the middle of the 21st century, we have racial prejudice gaining strength in several football stadiums in Europe.

He continued,

“I think it is important that FIFA, the Spanish league, and leagues in other countries take real action because we cannot allow fascism and racism to dominate football stadiums”.

In support of Vincius, the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro had its lights turned off on Monday.

LaLiga stated in a statement released on Tuesday that it is formally requesting sanctioning authority to better combat racism in Spanish football.

As of now, LaLiga says it cannot punish clubs or fans for incidents of racist abuse and can only pass on any reports of abuse to Spanish football federation (RFEF) committees or regional prosecutors, who deal with them as legal cases before sporting punishments are handed out.

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In one particular incident involving the Brazilian, LaLiga said in March 2023 that following an investigation into racist chants of “You are a monkey, Vinícius, you are a monkey” – aimed at Vinícius before and during Real’s match against Atleti on September 18, 2022 – the local Madrid prosecutor didn’t pursue the case because the yells were within the context of other “unpleasant and disrespectful” chants during a “football match of maximum rivalry.”

As a result of this and amid increasing criticism at the lack of action taken over racist incidents, LaLiga says it “will now proactively seek an amendment to the law that enables it to enact disciplinary action moving forward.”

The head of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales, admitted on Monday that there is a racism problem in the country.

“We have a problem,” Rubiales told a media conference. “The first thing is to recognize that we have a problem in our country of behavior, education, racism.

“While there is just one fan, one undesirable, a group of undesirables, who insults due to sexuality, skin color or creed, then we have a serious problem. A serious problem that also stains a whole team, a whole fan base, a whole club, a whole country – and we are a welcoming country.

“Vinícius Junior and any footballer, woman or man, who suffers an insult, any violent act, has my support and that of the entire RFEF because we are here to help and ask them to help us improve,” he added.

Rubiales also criticized LaLiga president Javier Tebas, who got involved in a back-and-forth with Vinícius on Twitter after Sunday’s match.

Tebas tweeted Vinícius Jr. telling him to “inform” himself on LaLiga’s jurisdictions and role in racism cases and chiding him for twice not meeting with him to discuss the matter.

When Vinícius replied:

“I am not your friend to talk with about racism. I want actions and punishments. Hashtags don’t move me,” Tebas again took to Twitter in an attempt to defend himself and LaLiga’s actions in the fight against racism.

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