Real Madrid say racism directed at Vinicius Junior constitutes a ‘hate crime’ and have filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.
Brazil forward Vinicius 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 Vincius and that individual faces a lifetime stadium ban from the Mestalla.
The game was paused after the break as Vinicius pointed out to the referee those who were allegedly abusing him in the stands – and the 22-year-old later took to social media to say racism is ‘normal’ in LaLiga.
“Real Madrid CF shows its strongest revulsion and condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinicius Junior,” the club said in a strongly-worded statement on Monday.
“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.”
In a statement on Instagram, Vinicius – who was sent off for violent conduct in added time of Real’s defeat following an altercation with striker Hugo Duro – 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.
“And unfortunately with everything that happens on a weekly basis, I have no way to defend. I agree. But I’m strong and will go to the end against the racists. Even though it’s far from here.”
LaLiga president Javier Tebas responded to Vinicius’ post on Sunday by accusing the forward for “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.
“The club strongly condemn this type of behaviour, which has no place in football and society and does not correspond to the values of Valencia CF and our fans.
“Valencia CF have taken a strong stance against racism and have previously acted with the same forcefulness in 2019, with a lifetime ban for a fan who made fascist gestures to Arsenal fans in a UEFA Europa League game.”
Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand took to Instagram in support of Vinicius and questioned player protection.
“Bro you need protecting….who is protecting Vinicius Junior in Spain??” Ferdinand posted. “He receives a red card after being choked and receiving racial abuse during the game… wtf.
“How many times do we need to see this young man subjected to this s**t?? I see pain, I see disgust, I see him needing help… and the authorities don’t do s**t to help him.
“People need to stand together and demand more from the authorities that run our game.
“No one deserves this, yet you are allowing it. There needs to be a unified approach to this otherwise it will be swept under the carpet AGAIN.”