Home sport Players and officials call for racism to be tackled as LaLiga action resumes

Players and officials call for racism to be tackled as LaLiga action resumes

Players and officials call for racism to be tackled as LaLiga action resumes

LaLiga players and officials called for racism to be tackled in Spain as the competition resumed in the wake of the latest Vinicius Junior incident.

Before Tuesday night’s game between Celta Vigo and Girona, players from both sides, as well as the match officials, stood behind a banner which read “Racism, out of football”.

LaLiga shared the pre-match clip on its official Twitter account with the hashtag #JUNTOSContraElRacismo (#TOGETHERagainstRacism).

The footage also showed a supporter holding up a placard with ‘No Al Racismo’ (No to Racism) written on it.

Play on the field resumed after a turbulent weekend when Real Madrid forward Vinicius was allegedly subjected to racist chants during Sunday’s game at Valencia and later claimed it was an example of “continuous episodes spread across several cities in Spain”.

LaLiga will request greater jurisdiction to punish clubs whose fans are guilty of racist abuse after feeling “powerless” at the lack of current sanctions in the wake of the latest Vinicius incident.

According to the country’s law, LaLiga can currently only identify and report incidents, and punishment is rarely handed out.

Now it wants legislation changing so that it has the power to impose punishment such as forcing games to be played behind closed doors or financial penalties.

This comes on the day four people were arrested in Spain under suspicion of hanging an effigy of Vinicius off a bridge in January.

An inflatable doll dressed in a Vinicius shirt was hung from the railings with a banner that read ‘Madrid hates Real Madrid’ ahead of Real’s Copa del Rey game with city rivals Atletico at the start of the year.

And Spanish police confirmed on Tuesday that four suspects had been apprehended.

They tweeted: “Arrested in #Madrid 4 people who allegedly hung a mannequin with the #Vinicius shirt on a bridge near the Ciudad Deportiva del @realmadrid.”

The arrests follow the latest racism scandal that has engulfed Spanish football, with Vinicius targeted by racist chants during Sunday’s LaLiga game with Valencia.

The Brazil international threatened to leave the pitch in the second half after being subjected to alleged monkey chants at the Mestalla.

Real Madrid said the abuse constituted a “hate crime” and filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

Valencia on Tuesday confirmed that police have identified three fans suspected of racial abuse, but denied their fanbase is racist.

In a statement, the club said: “The match against Real Madrid was broadcast live and it is totally false that the entire stadium was shouting racist remarks.

“There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation in the last few days. Valencia demand a responsible and serious approach to the matter.

“This is a very sensitive issue and everyone must remain factual. We cannot accept the labelling of Valencia fans as racist. It is not true. We call for respect.

“Racism has no place in football or in our society. Valencia strongly condemn racism.”

Vinicius tweeted on Monday night: “Every round away from home is an unpleasant surprise. And there were many this season. Death wishes, hanged doll, many criminal screams… All registered.

“But the speech always falls on ‘isolated cases’, ‘a fan’. No, these are not isolated cases. They are continuous episodes spread across several cities in Spain (and even in a television programme).

“The evidence is there in the video. Now I ask: how many of these racists had names and photos exposed on websites? I answer to make it easier: zero. None to tell a sad story or make those fake public apologies.

“What is missing to criminalise these people? And punish clubs sportingly? Why don’t sponsors charge LaLiga? Don’t televisions bother to broadcast this barbarity every weekend?

“The problem is very serious and communications no longer work. Not blaming me to justify criminal acts either. You are not football, you are inhuman.”