UPDATE: La Liga president apologises for Vinicius Jr attack

Vinicius Jr testifies in court over racism allegations.

Credit:Oleh Dubyna /Shutterstock.com

UPDATED: Wednesday, May 25, at 10:36pm

Javier Tebas, La Liga president has yesterday, May 24, apologised for what was seen as an attack on Vinicius Jr on social media after he was the victim of racial abuse by Valencia fans on Sunday.

Tebas and Vinicius got into a Twitter spat after the La Liga president posted this reponse to the Real Madrid footballer calling out racism at football matches and in Spain in general:

“Since those who should not explain to you what it is and what it can do @LaLiga in cases of racism, we have tried to explain it to you, but you have not shown up for either of the two agreed dates that you requested yourself.

“Before criticizing and insulting La Liga, it is necessary that you inform yourself properly @Vinijr. Do not let yourself be manipulated and make sure you fully understand each other’s competencies and the work we have been doing together.”

Vinicius Junior’s response to the above tweet read:

“It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it. I’m so sorry.

“The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists. A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which agreed to export the image of a racist country to the world.

“I’m sorry for the Spaniards who don’t agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists. And unfortunately, for everything that happens each week, I have no defense. I agree. But I am strong and I will go to the end against racists. Even if far from here.”

Vinicius Junior also posted this video on Twitter, documenting the history of the abuse he has receievd at the hands of Spanish football fans saying:

“Every away game is an unpleasant surprise. And there were many this season. Death wishes, hanging doll, many criminal screams… All recorded.

“But the discourse always falls on “isolated cases”, “a fan”. No, they are not isolated cases. They are continuous episodes spread over several cities in Spain (and even in a TV show).

“The evidence is there in the video. Now I ask you: how many of these racists had their names and pictures exposed on websites? I answer to make it easier: zero. None to tell a sad story or apologize publicly.

“What is missing to criminalize these people? And punish the clubs sportively? Why don’t the sponsors charge La Liga? Don’t the televisions bother broadcasting this barbarity every weekend?

“The problem is very serious and press releases don’t work anymore. Neither does blaming me to justify criminal acts.

“It’s not football, it’s inhuman.”

Tebas’ response to the condemnation of his and La Liga’s handling of this most recent racist incident seemed to be to claim he was misunderstood rather than wrong. Of his alleged attack on the footballer he said to ESPN Brazil:

“That was not my intention, far from it. I was trying to clarify a situation and explain it.”

Tebas has said that neither Spain nor La Liga are racist but has previously admitted support for the right-wing, anti-immigration Vox political party.

A La Liga has demanded more sanctioning powers to punish perpetrators of racism and has fined Valencia over Sunday’s incident, as well as ordering them to partially close their stadium for the next five matches. But it appears that Spanish football as a whole will have to go a lot further to convince critics that they are ready to stamp out racism in football once and for all.

UPDATED: Monday, May 22, at 6:39 pm

The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales said racism was a problem in Spain calling for a zero-tolerance approach.  This comes as Brazilian sports stars, politicians and celebrities came out in strong support of Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior following his abuse on Sunday, May 21.

Vinicius Junior posted on Instagram after the match saying:

“Not the first time, not the second and not the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the federation thinks it’s normal and the opponents encourage it. I regret it very much. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi, is now the domain of racists.”

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil said in a video posted by Sky News on Twitter: “It isn’t fair that a boy coming out of poverty that won in life, that is becoming one of the best players in the world, is subject to abuse at every stadium he plays.”


The Brazilian Justice Minister, Flavio Dino also tweeted saying: “My solidarity with the Brazilian player Vinicius Junior, once again a victim of racism in Spain. This is deplorable, unacceptable and must have consequences.”

World football spoke out against Vini’s treatment, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Rio Ferdinand speaking out on Instagram.

What is needed now from Luis Rubiales at the Royal Spanish Football Federation as well as from La Liga President Javier Tebas, a known supporter of the anti-immigration Vox Party, is decisive action to put an end to this sort of deplorable behaviour at Spanish football matches.

Monday, May 22, at 3:47 pm

Real Madrid have filed a legal ‘hate crime’ complaint following abuse to star winger Vinicius Junior as they lost to Valencia on Sunday, May 21.

Racist abuse was hurled at the Brazilian which he highlighted to the referee. As he became more and more infuriated with the abuse he had an altercation with Hugo Duro and was shown a red card.

Luis Miguel Echaegary posted this post-match interview with Carlo Ancelotti on Twitter.  The Real Madrid Manager only wanted to talk about the racist incident. Echaegary said:

“Interviewer wants to ask about the game itself. Ancelotti: “You want to talk about the game?” Interviewer: “Well yes—-I want to—-“. Ancelotti proceeds to use his time to talk about the disgusting racist abuse towards Vinicius Jr.”

Ancelotti was quoted as saying in the Independent: “La Liga has a problem. For me, Vinicius is the most important player in the world. These episodes of racism have to stop the match.”

“It’s the entire stadium that is insulting a player with racist chants and the match has to stop. I would say the same if we were winning 3-0. There is no other way.”

Real Madrid released a statement in which they said: “These events constitute a direct attack on the model of coexistence of our social and democratic State under the rule of law.”

Real Madrid considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime, and has therefore 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 responsibilities can be established.”

It remains to be seen if the formal complaint will lead to any prosecutions, but it is the continuation of a problem that many footballing nations have suffered over the years. It is a problem that appears to keep rearing its ugly head.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.