Four arrested after Valencia v Real Madrid racist abuse and Spanish Football Federation fires referees

by Lorraine Williamson
arrested for racial abuse

During the match between Real Madrid and Valencia, footballer Vinícius Júnior was taunted by some “fans” and calledmonkey. Following the commotion, Vini jnr was sent off with a red card. According to the Brazilian, the measure was not correct.

On May 21, Real Madrid lost 1-0 to Valencia. But as if that wasn’t annoying enough for the Madrid club, the game was overshadowed when Vinícius Júnior was repeatedly the victim of racist statements by Valencian supporters. During the match, he was called ‘mono’ (monkey) several times. 

Riots and racist expressions dominate the match 

It started with a scuffle in the second half in the penalty area. Valencia supporters verbally abused him, after which the footballer complained to the referee that there was racism from the stands. However, despite this complaint, the referee decided to let the game continue. 

Then, in the last minutes of the game, there was a fight on the field. Vinícius Júnior was grabbed by the throat after which he dealt a blow to the opponent. Only the latter was condemned by the referee and Vinícius Júnior was sent off with a red card. For certain people in the audience, this was another reason to curse him. 

Also read: Racism in football

Vinícius is fed up and turns to social media 

After the game, the bomb exploded on social media. Vinicius wrote on Twitter that Valencia supporters have shown that racism is seen as “normal” within the Spanish league. “The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi, today belongs to racists.” After his tweet, he received a lot of support from well-known footballers, but also criticism that it is not fair to say that racism is seen as normal within the Spanish league. 

Spanish Royal Football Federation fires referees 

On Tuesday it was announced that the Spanish Royal Football Association condemned the choice made by referee Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva on Sunday. The referee, together with the five other VAR referees of Sunday’s match, have been suspended and must resign immediately. The reason for this is that the VAR decided to only condemn Vinícius Júnior’s blow but not the fact that he was grabbed by the throat by a Valencia player for it. 

Spain is racist 

After his first tweet, Vinícius moved this topic to Spain. He said he thinks Spain is a beautiful country that initially welcomed him. However, Spain is now known in Brazil as a country full of racists. La Liga president Javier Tebas Medrano then responded on Twitter that neither Spain nor La Liga is racist. He continued to tweet that this statement was unfair and that the Spanish football league condemns racism as harshly as possible. 

A total of nine official racial slurs have been reported in La Liga this football season, eight of them against Vinícius Júnior. The events during the match between Real Madrid and Valencia were the last straw for the player. As a result, discussions are being started again: Is the Spanish Football Association really acting hard enough against racism? And shouldn’t matches be stopped completely in such cases? 

Yolanda Díaz, second Vice President of the Government of Spain and Minister of Labour and Social Economy tweeted that “racist chants in soccer stadiums do not represent our country, or any soccer fan. We will continue working to end racism or any other form of discrimination”.

Spanish politics interferes with football 

Equality Minister Irene Montero announced last weekend that a stricter law against racism is being prepared. Montero advocates for this law to take effect immediately. 

Both Valencia and Real Madrid have posted a statement on their website to strongly condemn the behavior of these supporters. Real Madrid said it had gone to court because of the seriousness of the events. According to the club, these constitute a direct attack on Spain’s society and democracy. Reference is made to Article 124 of the Spanish Constitution. 

Valencia was working with the police to identify the supporters involved. If they are found guilty, at least a lifetime stadium ban hangs over their heads. 

 The Policia Nacional have since arrested 4 youths for their alleged verbal attack against Vini jnr. They are 19, 21, 23 and 24 years old.

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