There was no intention to attack Vinicius.”
La Liga president Javier Tebas eventually bowed out. “Brazil didn’t understand my message and my intentions,” he told ESPN. I didn’t mean to attack Vinicius,” he said, adding, “If that’s how most people understood it, I have to apologize. It was not my intention. It was necessary to clarify the situation because Vinicius recorded a video in support of La Liga’s actions.”
Tebas has been at the center of the controversy. The incident took place in the 35th round of the 2022-2023 Spanish Primera Liga between Real Madrid and Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, Spain, on Nov. 22. In the 23rd minute of the second half, with Real Madrid trailing 1-0, Vinicius was fouled as he cut in from the left side of the penalty area. As he broke through, another ball was played into the Valencia penalty area, and a defender kicked it out of play, which coincidentally hit the ball exactly where Vinicius was dribbling.
The referee showed the Valencia defender a yellow card for kicking the ball and while the situation was being sorted out, Vinicius started to get into an argument with the crowd behind the goal, pointing fingers at each other. Vinicius complained to the referee that he had been racially abused by pointing at a particular spectator, and his Real Madrid teammate joined in, bringing the game to a halt. After nearly 10 minutes of stoppage time, the game resumed, but this time in second-half stoppage time, players from both teams got into an emotional exchange, during which Vinicius was shown a red card after video assistant referee (VAR) showed him punching an opponent. As he was leaving the field amidst boos from the Valencia fans, Vinicius made a “2” gesture with his fingers before falling to the ground, prompting another scuffle with Valencia players who were furious.
After 17 minutes of extra time, the match ended with Valencia winning 1-0.
After the game, the situation was further inflamed. Vinicius took to social media after the game to say, “This is not the first time, not the second time, not the third time. Racism has become normalized in La Liga,” he wrote on Twitter. ‘The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi now belongs to racists,’ he said, adding, ‘The response of the La Liga secretariat seems to encourage racism. In Brazil today, Spain is perceived as a racist country,” he said, adding, “There is no way to protect me, but I am strong and I will fight against racism.
“Vinicius is a victim,” Ancelotti said. He tried to play in a racist environment and the insults kept coming, and they were really bad. It’s very sad. It’s 2023,” he said, adding, “This is crazy. I want to make it clear that there is no place for any form of discrimination, including racism, in soccer and in society. You can’t just talk about it, you have to show it with actions, we are with the victims of racism, we are against racism and we prohibit any form of discrimination,” he said.
But Tebas’ statement only added fuel to the fire. Instead of apologizing, Tebas criticized Vinicius. ‘We tried to explain to you what racism is and what La Liga can do,’ he wrote, sharing Vinicius’ post. ‘You didn’t attend the two dates you requested yourself. You should educate yourself before criticizing and insulting La Liga. Don’t manipulate yourself and fully understand each other’s abilities and what we have done together,’ he protested.
That’s when Vinicius took action. On his social media accounts, Vinicius released videos of racist comments and behavior directed at him by fans. “Every round away is a series of unpleasant surprises. This season there have been many,” he wrote, captioning the video: “Wishes for my death, hanging dolls, the cries of countless criminals. It’s all recorded,” he captioned the video.
It was horrific. The chants from opposing fans towards Vinicius were shocking. In September last year, Atletico Madrid fans chanted “Vinicius is a monkey,” and three months later, Valladolid fans called him a “stupid nigger. In February of this year, Mallorca fans said, “Go eat a banana,” and in March, Barcelona fans said, “Die Vinicius! Anti-calling from opposing fans towards their ace is a given, but this was way over the top. It was serious.
“This is not soccer. It’s inhumane,” he said, adding, “The evidence of racism is in the video. What’s not enough to explain that these people are criminals. Why aren’t sponsors charging for La Liga, why aren’t televisions broadcasting this barbarism every weekend,” he raged. “Not one of these racists has been named and photographed. Not a single one of them has a sad story to tell or an apology to the public. 토토사이트
Eventually, the international community spoke out. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “I express my full solidarity and support for Vinicius. Racism has no place in football or in society. We will support and help any player who experiences racism like this.” In Brazil, the outrage is growing. “It’s not fair that Vinicius is insulted in every stadium he goes to,” said President Lula, calling for action to “prevent fascism and racism from taking over soccer stadiums around the world.” Justice Minister Flavio said he was even considering using “extraterritorial jurisdiction” to apply Brazilian criminal code provisions against the suspects if Spanish authorities failed to take appropriate action in the case.
Brazil showed its solidarity with Vinicius by turning off the lights of the country’s national symbol, a statue of Jesus with outstretched arms in Rio de Janeiro, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 22, symbolizing the “black and majestic Jesus.
Real Madrid said on the club’s official website: “We strongly condemn what happened to Vinicius Junior. We believe that this racist attack constitutes a hate crime. We have filed a case with the Attorney General’s Office and the Public Prosecutor’s Office so that they can investigate the facts and clarify responsibility.” Valencia, who were initially upset that Ancelotti’s comments were misinterpreted, issued a statement on the club’s official website saying, “Racism is not in line with Valencia values. We are against racism and violence in all its forms. We have identified the fan who used racial slurs against Vinicius. We will take the fastest and strongest action.”
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) also responded to the situation by disciplining the referees. “Following a big decision by the RFEF, Nacho Iglesias Villanueva will be relieved of his video assistant referee (VAR) duties with immediate effect. In addition to him, five other VAR referees will not officiate next season,” Marca reported. Vinicius’ ejection was also revoked. The Spanish Refereeing Technical Committee said: “Vinicius acted with the intention of escaping the unruly behavior of the Valencia player. The ejection was unjustified, so we reverse the penalty. Legal action is also being taken. “Spanish police have arrested three spectators for allegedly shouting racist comments at Vinicius,” CNN reported. Separately, Spanish police reportedly arrested four more people in January for putting a shirt with Vinicius’ name on a doll and hanging it from a bridge.
Nevertheless, Tebas said, “Vinicius’ allegations are unjust. Racism is extremely rare in La Liga,” but the club’s president bowed to the cold shoulder of public opinion. Of course, there was still no direct apology to Vinicius and no concrete plan to move beyond racism. But for the time being, Tebas, who, along with Valencia, had taken a hardline stance on the issue, has also bowed out. All public opinion is in Vinicius’ favor.
The Real Madrid-Layo Vallecano match at the Bernabeu in Madrid, Spain, on Sept. 25 was a racist rally in support of Vinicius. Real Madrid players wore matching jerseys with Vinicius’ name and number 20 on them. Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano players made their solidarity with Vinicius clear before the game by holding up a banner against racism that read “Racism, get out of soccer!”. Fans clapped in solidarity with Vinicius in the first 20 minutes of the game, in honor of his number 20. “We are all Vinicius. Enough is enough (of racism)!” were displayed in the stands. Watching the game from the stands, Vinicius stood up and raised his hand to show his appreciation.