Spanish police have arrested seven people in connection with racist abuse directed at Vinicius Jr, who confronted fans of Valencia football club in the Mestalla stadium who he accused of directing monkey chants at him. After the match, the Brazilian international said the Spanish football league “belongs to racists”.
This followed two racial abuse incidents against Real Madrid forward Vinícius Junior from rival Atlético de Madrid fans. The arrest is for partaking in hate crimes, Spanish police said Tuesday.
Four men were detained in Madrid for allegedly dangling a doll wearing a Vinícius jersey from a bridge close to his club’s training grounds in January, ahead of a Copa del Rey showdown between the two local teams. The doll hung alongside a red and white banner declaring “Madrid hates Real,” a slogan associated with die-hard Atlético’s fanatics. Of the four men, three have been identified as “active members of a radical fan group” that have previously been dubbed “high risk.”
The other three arrests were made in connection to racist insults flung at Vinícius during a match against Valencia on Sunday. “Racism is normal in LaLiga,” the Brazilian footballer wrote on Twitter the same day. “The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists.”
“La Liga has a problem,” Real Madrid’s Italian coach, Carlo Ancelotti, told an interviewer after the game.
In the wake of the incident, the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, warned against allowing “fascism and racism” to dominate football stadiums and his government issued a statement saying it “deeply regrets” the lack of action by Spanish authorities to fight the problem.