VALENCIA, Spain (CelebrityAccess) — Spanish prosecutors have launched an investigation into a disturbing incident during a football match in Valencia on Sunday, where fans directed racist slurs at Vinícius Júnior, the Brazilian forward for Real Madrid.
According to The Guardian, the prosecutor’s office in Valencia is treating the events that took place during Sunday’s game as potential hate crimes after the match was temporarily halted due to the abusive behavior aimed at Júnior from the stands.
During the interruption, Júnior pointed out some of the fans responsible for the offensive slurs to referees and a message denouncing racism was broadcasted through the stadium’s public address system, drawing attention to the issue.
Unfortunately, Júnior has been subjected to racist abuse repeatedly over the past two seasons, despite his remarkable rise as one of the league’s prominent players. Expressing his frustration, he wrote on his social media, “It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the federation does too, and the opponents encourage it.”
Júnior further highlighted that Spain is gaining a reputation among Brazilians as a “country of racists.”
Following the game, FIFA voiced solidarity with Júnior, emphasizing that “there is no place for racism in football or in society.”
In an official statement released after the match, FIFA explained their three-step process for handling such incidents: “Firstly, you stop the match, you announce it. Secondly, the players leave the pitch, and the speaker announces that if the attacks continue, the match will be suspended. The match restarts, and then, thirdly, if the attacks continue, the match will stop and the three points will go to the opponent. These are the rules that should be implemented in all countries and in all leagues.”
The statement acknowledged the challenges of enforcing these measures but stressed the importance of support and education in combating racism. FIFA also urged attention to be given not only to the victims but also to the perpetrators, stating that racists should be banned for life from entering football stadiums worldwide. Additionally, they should face criminal charges in their respective countries since racism is considered a crime.
The investigation launched by Spanish prosecutors reflects the growing urgency to tackle racism in football and society as a whole. It remains to be seen what actions will be taken against those responsible for the racist abuse endured by Vinícius Júnior and how the football community will work together to eliminate such unwanted behavior from the sport.