Brazil condemns 'racist attack' on Vinicius in Spain

·3-min read

The racist abuse of Real Madrid's Brazilian soccer star Vinicius Jr in Spanish stadia has led to a diplomatic incident.

Following the latest incidence of abuse, at Valencia on Sunday, the Brazilian government summoned the Spanish ambassador in Brasilia and called on the Spanish government to punish those involved.

"Taking into account the seriousness of the facts and the occurrence of yet another inadmissible episode, the Brazilian government deeply regrets that, until now, effective measures have not been taken to prevent and avoid the repetition of these acts of racism," a statement said on Monday.

The foreign ministry said Ambassador Mar Fernandez Palacios was asked to discuss the incident.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Twitter there was "zero tolerance for racism in football."

Spain's Sports Council said it would study footage of the game to single out any perpetrators for prosecution.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva earlier said: "It is not fair that a poor boy who is winning in his life, becoming one of the best in the world, certainly the best at Real Madrid, is insulted in every stadium he goes to."

Videos posted on social media and verified by Reuters showed hundreds of Valencia fans singing "Vinicius is a monkey" as the Real Madrid bus arrived at the stadium in Valencia before Sunday's match.

The game was stopped for 10 minutes after the 22-year-old forward pointed out fans who were allegedly hurling racist comments at him. Vinicius Jr was later sent off.

Brazil's deputy Foreign Minister Maria Laura da Rocha said she was amazed by the repeated racist attacks on the player.

"Vinicius Jr received a red card for not enduring all that. The red card should have been given to racism," she said at a seminar on Brazil's relations to African nations.

Real Madrid have said the racism directed at their player constitutes a "hate crime" and have filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General's Office.

Vinicius Jr himself said on social media, "Racism is normal in La Liga.

"The competition thinks it's normal, so does the Federation and the opponents encourage it. I am so sorry.

"The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi, today belongs to the racists."

Later on Monday he called for sponsors and broadcasters to hold LaLiga accountable. "The problem is very serious, and press releases don't work anymore. Neither does blaming me to justify criminal acts," he added.

La Liga president Javier Tebas rejected the claim the league was racist as untrue and "unfair" but the president of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales backed Vinicius Jr and stated Spain had "a problem" with racism. 

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti and FIFA president Gianni Infantino supported his player while Xavi, coach of Real's bitter rivals Barcelona, said: "It's time to put an end to this. If there's an insult, out, we stop playing, it's over."

Valencia released a statement condemning what happened and confirming they will investigate.

- with agencies