Vinicius Jr. Gets Justice In Court

Vinicius Jr wins in court over racism allegations.

Credit:Oleh Dubyna /Shutterstock.com

In a landmark verdict by Spanish Authorities, three Valencia fans have been convicted of racially abusing Brazilian footballer Vinicius Jr. The incident, which occurred during a match between Valencia and Real Madrid, has reignited the debate over how football confronts and addresses such toxic behaviour within its fan base.

The match between Valencia and Real Madrid took place on  May 21st , 2023, when Vinicius Jr. was subjected to vile racist abuse from sections of the Valencia supporters. Chants and gestures aimed at the player were repeated as the game went on, and became increasingly more and more derogatory towards Vinicius Jr, and included imitations of a monkey.

The verdict handed down by the charge to the three fans, they pleaded guilty to the court. During the proceedings, a letter of apology to Vinicius Jr, La Liga, and Real Madrid, was read out by each of the defendants This did not result in a sentence, but a ban from attending any football stadiums for two years. Should any of the three commit any more offenses, they could face jail time. After the sentencing, the court made a statement, explaining that ‘shouts and gestures of a racist nature, consisting among other things in the repetition of the sounds and imitating the movements of monkeys, caused the footballer feelings of frustration, shame and humiliation, with the consequent undermining of his intrinsic dignity.’

LaLiga president, Javier Tebas, has said “This ruling is great news for the fight against racism in Spain as it repairs the damage suffered by Vinicius Jr and sends a clear message to those people who go to a football stadium to insult that LaLiga will identify them, report them and there will be criminal consequences for them”. Tebas then went onto explain that while there has been such a gap between the incident and the sentencing, ‘Spain is a country that guarantees judicial integrity’.

This verdict represents a significant moment in the fight against racism in football. By holding the perpetrators accountable for their actions, the legal system sends a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated. This landmark decision sets a precedent for future cases and reinforces the notion that racism has no place in football.

For Vinicius Jr, this is not the first incident he has been subjected to, as over sixteen reported incidents of racial abuse toward him were made towards him. No athlete should have to endure such hateful treatment simply because of their race or ethnicity.

While Vinicius Jr. has shown remarkable resilience on the pitch, he was pushed to tears in March of this year when he admitted that the reoccurring insults having a tremendous effect on his focus on the game. Legendary footballer ,Thierry Henry, affirmed his support for the Real Madrid player at the beginning of the month, stating that he considers Vinicius Jr. ‘the best player in the world’.

There have been numerous calls for change within football have grown louder. Many argue that stricter punishments, including lifetime bans for offenders, are necessary to deter future incidents of racism. It also comes days before the kick of the UEFA Euro 2024, where Germany and Scotland are set to kick off at 9 PM, which has led fans to hope that both UEFA and FIFA will do all in their power to not let racism taint their experience. The championship will see Spain play on Saturday at 6 PM, against Croatia.

The case of the racism Vinicius Jr. not only serves as a wake-up call for football to confront its demons, but the justice served shines as a fine example of the work towards a more inclusive future in football. It is essential that everyone involved in the sport – players, coaches, fans, and officials –  stand together against racism in all its forms. By taking a united stance, football can send a powerful message that discrimination has no place on the pitch or in the stands.

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Written by

Darryl Kelly

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