Vinícius Júnior again target of racist insults in Spain

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Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, right, and Betis' Youssouf Sabaly vie for the ball during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Betis and Real Madrid at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, Sunday, March 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)

MADRID – The Spanish league filed another complaint to authorities on Thursday following racial insults aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior.

It was the seventh official complaint made by the league for insults against the Brazilian player, who is Black. The latest complaint came after someone called him a monkey during Madrid's 0-0 draw at Real Betis on Sunday.

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The complaint was made to a court in Seville to try to identify the person and take the appropriate legal measures against the individual. Betis is based in Seville.

Vinícius has been subjected to racist insults since he came to play in Spain five years ago, though very little has been done to punish fans.

Some of the league’s complaints have already been shelved by Spanish prosecutors.

Last month, Spain’s anti-violence commission proposed a fine of 4,000 euros ($4,200) and a 12-month ban from stadiums for a fan who called Vinícius a monkey in a league match against Mallorca.

Valladolid recently suspended 12 season ticket holders while investigating their alleged verbal abuse of Vinícius.

The first trial against a fan who racially insulted a player in Spain is expected to begin this year following remarks by an Espanyol supporter against Athletic Bilbao forward Iñaki Williams a few years ago.

Also, authorities have yet to find those responsible for hanging Vinícius’ effigy from a bridge in Madrid before the derby against Atletico Madrid last month.

The league has increased the number of overseers at matches to try to identify perpetrators of insults against players, especially when Vinícius plays.

In order to speed up the identification process, the league has set up a complaints channel through its website for fans who may have images or any information about the perpetrators.

The attacks against Vinícius increased after he began celebrating his goals by dancing. Some players have accused him of provoking them and opposing fans during games.

Betis forward Aitor Ruibal said after Sunday's match against Madrid that “it was normal” for fans to insult Vinícius and for opposing players to try to foul him hard because of the way he plays. The Betis player received a lot of backlash for his comments and later said his words were taken out of context.


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