La Liga acts on racist abuse of Vinícius amid call for Atlético fans to be banned

  • Report going to Spanish FA and state’s anti-violence commission
  • Madrid’s mayor says those responsible should be banned for life

La Liga will deliver a formal report to the Spanish Football Federation’s disciplinary committee and the state’s anti-violence commission, denouncing the racist abuse directed at the Real Madrid winger Vinícius Júnior by Atlético Madrid fans before the derby on Sunday. The mayor of the city, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has expressed his desire that those responsible are identified and not allowed to return to football stadiums in Spain.

A group of fans were filmed chanting “Vinícius is a monkey” before the game at the Metropolitano stadium on Sunday night. Although the incident that was caught on camera occurred outside the ground, La Liga will include it in the report on fan behaviour that it prepares and delivers to the anti-violence commission for it to act upon each week.

The Movimiento Contra la Intolerancia (Movement Against Intolerance) has also presented a formal complaint to the state body responsible for investigating hate crimes.

“There is no place for them, not just at a sporting event but in any sphere of life,” said Martínez-Almeida. “What I think has to be done is for these people to be identified because I don’t think they deserved to be allowed in. It is absolutely reproachable and must be condemned.

“I say this as mayor of Madrid but also, as you know, as an Atlético fan. It ashames me that there should be Atlético fans capable of shouting that type of racist abuse.”

The Atlético forward Matheus Cunha has insisted that Vinícius’s pre-game statement denouncing racism was not directed at the Atlético captain Koke but at the TV guest, Pedro Bravo, who had accused him on the Spanish show Chringuito of “hacer el mono” – roughly, monkeying about – after a debate had been built up surrounding Vinícius celebrating goals by dancing.

The clip went viral, especially in Brazil, prompting statements in support of Vinícius from throughout football, including from Neymar, Dani Alves and even Pelé. Bravo apologised, saying he used the phrase “figuratively”.

Koke was subsequently asked about the likely reaction should Vinícius score and celebrate the goal by dancing, and he responded by saying there would be a “lio for sure” – a lio is trouble, a fuss, or a mess.

“They say that happiness annoys people,” Vinícius said in a statement before the derby. “Well, the happiness of a victorious black Brazilian in Europe, much more so. Weeks ago now, they started to criminalise me for dancing.” He said that dancing “celebrate[s] the cultural diversity of the world,” and added: “Accept it, respect me, I’m not going to stop.”

After the derby, Cunha embraced Vinícius and supported him. He also posted a tweet in which he accused the media of “manipulating”. He wrote: “Anyone who saw [Koke’s] interview knows that our captain was right: everyone celebrates goals the way they want, it’s just that no fans like to see an opponent dance at their home.”


Sid Lowe in Madrid

The GuardianTramp

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