LaLiga will request greater jurisdiction to punish clubs whose fans are guilty of racist abuse after feeling “powerless” at the lack of current sanctions in the wake of the latest Vinicius Junior incident.
The Spanish league is engulfed in a racism scandal after Real Madrid forward Vinicius was allegedly subjected to racist chants during Sunday’s game at Valencia and later claimed it was an example of “continuous episodes spread across several cities in Spain”.
LaLiga, according to the country’s law, can currently only identify and report incidents, and punishment is rarely handed out.
Now it wants legislation changing so that it has the power to impose punishment such as forcing games to be played behind closed doors or financial penalties.
It said in a statement: “LaLiga will request more sanctioning powers, with the aim of being more agile and effective in the fight against violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in sport, where LaLiga has been leading the identification and reporting of such behaviour in football stadiums for years, but feels powerless when observing how its reporting ends.
“Despite its intense and continuous fight against violence and racism to the full extent of its powers (currently, according to Spanish legislation, limited to identifying and reporting the facts that occur), LaLiga feels tremendous frustration at the lack of sanctions and convictions by the sports disciplinary bodies, public administrations and jurisdictional bodies to which it reports.
A cada rodada fora de casa uma surpresa desagradável. E foram muitas nessa temporada. Desejos de morte, boneco enforcado, muitos gritos criminosos… Tudo registrado.
Mas o discurso sempre cai em “casos isolados”, “um torcedor”. Não, não são casos isolados. São episódios… pic.twitter.com/aSCMrt0CR8
— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) May 22, 2023
“Faced with this serious situation, in the coming days LaLiga will formally request the amendment of Law 19/2007 of July 11, against violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in sport and Law 39/2022 of December 30, on sport.
“The purpose of the proposal is to request that LaLiga may exercise disciplinary authority over incidents of this type which occur in matches of the professional competition, so that the disciplinary bodies of LaLiga may proceed to sanction them, among other things, with the total or partial closure of the sports venue, the prohibition of access to it in the case of members/fans and the imposition of financial penalties, without prejudice to the adoption of provisional or precautionary measures that may be appropriate, depending on the nature and seriousness of the incidents.
“As we have been repeating in recent days, LaLiga has been leading the fight against violence, racism and intolerance on football pitches, both inside and outside the stadium, identifying such behaviour through its match directors, security officers and television cameras, and subsequently reporting it to the relevant bodies.”
It comes on the day four people were arrested in Spain under suspicion of hanging an effigy of Vinicius off a bridge in January.
An inflatable doll dressed in a Vinicius shirt was hung from the railings with a banner that read ‘Madrid hates Real Madrid’ ahead of Real’s Copa del Rey game with city rivals Atletico at the start of the year.
And Spanish police confirmed on Tuesday that four suspects had been apprehended.
They tweeted: “Arrested in #Madrid 4 people who allegedly hung a mannequin with the #Vinicius shirt on a bridge near the Ciudad Deportiva del @realmadrid.”
— Policía Nacional (@policia) May 23, 2023
The arrests follow the latest racism scandal that has engulfed Spanish football, with Vinicius targeted by racist chants during Sunday’s LaLiga game with Valencia.
The Brazil international threatened to leave the pitch in the second half after being subjected to alleged monkey chants at the Mestalla.
Real Madrid said the abuse constituted a “hate crime” and filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.
Valencia on Tuesday confirmed that police have identified three fans suspected of racial abuse, but denied their fanbase is racist.
In a statement, the club said: “The match against Real Madrid was broadcast live and it is totally false that the entire stadium was shouting racist remarks.
“There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation in the last few days. Valencia demand a responsibile and serious approach to the matter.
“This is a very sensitive issue and everyone must remain factual. We cannot accept the labelling of Valencia fans as racist. It is not true. We call for respect.
“Racism has no place in football or in our society. Valencia strongly condemn racism.”
Vinicius tweeted on Monday night: “Every round away from home is an unpleasant surprise. And there were many this season. Death wishes, hanged doll, many criminal screams… All registered.
“But the speech always falls on ‘isolated cases’, ‘a fan’. No, these are not isolated cases. They are continuous episodes spread across several cities in Spain (and even in a television programme).
“The evidence is there in the video. Now I ask: how many of these racists had names and photos exposed on websites? I answer to make it easier: zero. None to tell a sad story or make those fake public apologies.
“What is missing to criminalise these people? And punish clubs sportingly? Why don’t sponsors charge LaLiga? Don’t televisions bother to broadcast this barbarity every weekend?
“The problem is very serious and communications no longer work. Not blaming me to justify criminal acts either. You are not football, you are inhuman.”