A racism scandal once again shook Spanish football

The xenophobic cries against Vinicius Jr. during the visit of real Madrid a Valencia revived a controversy installed in La Liga. The Brazilian star confirmed in his networks that this racist behavior is common in Spanish football.

The player of real Madrid Vinicius Junior said on social media that racism is “normality in the league” after a sector of Valencia fans called him a monkey on Sunday during the match between the two clubs. However, you would not have known much about racism by watching the live broadcast.

Nor is it the first time that fans have insulted Vinícius Júnior. On September 18, when Atlético de Madrid received its arch-rival, Real Madrid, a large group uttered racist insults against Vinícius. The game was interrupted in the first part because the fans threw lighters and empty bottles at him.

In both cases, the Spanish league, one of the most popular in Europe, initially tried to downplay the facts and cover up the insults. Unlike other major leagues, such as the English Premier League, La Liga chooses the commentators and journalists who cover the matches and also monitor all the cameras, both inside and, in some cases, around the stadiums, according to one person. familiar with the contract of rights.

The racism that Vinícius was subjected to in both incidents was captured on social media. After the Atlético de Madrid game, commentators on the main television networks did not discuss the incident, either at half-time or after the game.

After the Valencia game, the Valencian authorities denied that there was widespread racism, despite the videos broadcast on social networks in which they saw a large part of the public chanting “mono”.

The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, tried to refute Vinícius on social networks, arguing that the league has fought against racism.

The president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, has admitted that Spain has a racism problem. “We have a problem of behavior, education, racism,” he told the press at an event in Madrid. He emphasized that as long as there is a single vermin or a group of vermin that insult someone because of their sexuality, their skin color or their faith, there is a serious problem.

The incident shocked Brazil, Vinícius’s country of origin, covering the front pages of the main newspapers and provoking condemnations from mayors and even President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva himself. Before starting the return home from the G7 summit in Japan, the president expressed his solidarity with Vinícius Jr.

“How is it possible that in the 21st century we have racial prejudices gaining strength in various stadiums in Europe?” he said at a press conference.

The Brazilian government described the attacks against the footballer as “unacceptable” in a statement, and announced that it would take action with both sports authorities and sponsors. CNN Brazil reported that the Ministry of Foreign Relations would summon the Spanish ambassador in Brasilia, while the Brazilian ambassador in Spain had requested meetings with Tebas, from LaLiga, and Rubiales, from the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

Although soccer coverage has long failed to address racism within the sport, the topic is now often covered by commentators and pundits from other leagues. In 2021, Sky Sports presenter Kelly Cates said at half-time that Arsenal had reported racist abuse by a spectator early in the match.

However, the coverage of Spanish football is very controlled. La Liga previously admitted that journalists who cover the league understand that there are certain rules about how the sport is covered.

In a radio interview last year, Tebas said that he doesn’t say what questions to ask, but rather that you have to know what you can’t ask. And he pointed out that if he asks something that is not in the regulation, he will not return.

La Liga said in a statement that it would investigate the incident and take appropriate legal action. The league has filed nine complaints of racist insults against Vinícius in the past two seasons, including seven this season.

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