LaLiga accuses Vinicius Junior of racist abuse

LaLiga has filed charges in a local court over racial abuse directed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior during last week’s 2-0 win over Real Valladolid.

Vinicius was targeted by home fans after being substituted late on at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla, where Karim Benzema’s double secured Madrid all three points.

The Brazil international criticized LaLiga for its lack of action to stamp out racism, although league chief Javier Tebas said those comments were “unfortunate” and “unfair”.

LaLiga moved on Tuesday to punish those responsible for abusing Vinicius by taking the case further.

“LaLiga has submitted the corresponding charges regarding the racist insults directed at the footballer Vinicius Jr. to the relevant judicial, administrative and sporting bodies,” read a statement.

“A criminal charge of hate crimes has been filed at the Valladolid Magistrates’ Courts, supported by audio-visual evidence gathered in the investigation carried out through images and audio clips published on open sources.

“LaLiga has also asked the Valladolid Magistrates’ Courts to transfer the complaint to the public prosecutor’s office for hate crimes so that it can participate in the case.

“In addition, and as has been the case for several seasons, a report on the racist insults has been submitted to the RFEF Competition Committee and the State Commission against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport, to be investigated and assessed for a sanction.”

In a post on social media after Friday’s win over Valladolid, Vinicius said: “Racists continue to go to stadiums and watch the biggest club in the world up close and @LaLiga continues to do nothing…”

Tebas was quick to refute that claim at the time, and LaLiga has now pledged to “increase its ongoing efforts to stamp out any form of violence, racism or xenophobia inside and outside stadiums”.

Tuesday’s statement added: “As a result, the number of LaLiga integrity officers present at matches where there is a risk of racist abuse will be increased to maximize the detection and identification of this type of behavior which has no place in sport.

“Furthermore, at stadiums where there is assessed to be a risk of possible racist behavior in the stands, messages will be broadcast via the public address system and advertising around the pitch to combat and condemn racism.

“LaLiga’s goal is zero violence in sport, and to achieve this, a variety of training, prevention, detection and reporting methods are carried out on each match day, which are then reported to the State Commission against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport, as well as to the Prosecutor’s Office for Hate Crimes.

“Similarly, LaLiga condemns and takes legal action as a plaintiff in any criminal case related to acts of violence that take place within the football sphere. LaLiga continues to work with clubs, players, authorities and all parties involved in the sport to ensure that there is no no place for violent or racist behavior in football.”

Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Monday that a “zero tolerance” policy against racism must be pursued following the fourth high-profile incident involving Vinicius.

“It’s society’s problem, it shouldn’t exist, for me it has to be zero tolerance,” added Ancelotti. “I don’t think it’s LaLiga’s problem. It’s a general, cultural problem in society. Society doesn’t have the education it should have.

“With such an important topic, I didn’t want to focus on Vinicius or LaLiga or the penalties. It’s much bigger.”

Vinicius is not part of Madrid’s squad for Tuesday’s Copa del Rey 32 match in Cacereno, where Ancelotti has chosen to rest a number of regular players from the first team.

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