Abominable racist slurs against Vinicius Jr must stop but Spanish football has shown no desire to eradicate them
REAL MADRID star Vinicius Jr. has been targeted by thoughtless and vile racists. That has to stop.
There can be no room for that in our game – neither in Spain nor in Switzerland, in Sardinia or in Swansea.
But perhaps the most worrying aspect of all this has been the reaction from Spanish football authorities.
Okay, maybe you can’t physically repress the odd idiot who shouts abuse at anyone about anything – although you should try really hard – the events at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia weren’t, as far as I’ve seen, one or two fans there.
It was an ongoing act committed by many so-called fans against a player for one simple reason – because he’s black.
The Brazilian Vinicius shouldn’t put up with that in his job, and neither should anyone else.
It is totally unacceptable in any job to be exposed to heinous racial slurs in the workplace. So why is football different?
One would assume that the Spanish authorities would have cracked down on Valencia and the perpetrators.
We have surveillance cameras in all our stadiums these days and it should be easy to locate the perpetrators.
There have been arrests, so we’ll see where that goes.
But the penalty for Valencia was this: a £39,000 fine and a partial closure of the Mestalla for five games, specifically the Mario Kempes stand where the racist slurs took place.
Am I alone with my thoughts? . . What? A fine of less than £40,000 won’t necessarily land Valencia, one of Spain’s biggest clubs, in trouble.
And what about the message this sends to other racists who are keen to jump on this despicable bandwagon?
It’s like giving billionaire Bill Gates a parking ticket. As for a partial closure of the site, that would be a lot of good.
Believe that the next time these idiots attend a game they’ll think for a second, “Oh, we better not do that because it could result in a fine and the closure of my favorite vantage point.”
So the reaction from the Spanish authorities was ridiculous – but what about Valencia Football Club?
They made all the usual tones to condemn racism and then announced that they would appeal the fine, believing it was disproportionate and unjustified.
Let’s do it right: Some of your fanbase has targeted one of the world’s greatest players on the grounds that he is black and has repulsive racial slurs.
You then get a ridiculous fine and your reaction in the Valencia boardroom is to complain. Incredibly, they called it “completely unfair.”
This is so ridiculous, so horrifying, you couldn’t make it up. And that’s probably why the club has a racism problem in the first place.
We’ve made great strides in English football to rid ourselves of the curse of racism and that’s because it’s no longer tolerated.
Football doesn’t want it, the fans don’t want it, players and managers don’t want it and we fight every day to prevent black players from becoming the target of racial slurs.
Our clubs have shown that they will not accept that.
But in Spain it seems that a football genius like Vinicius has to put up with it. Not in 2023 shouldn’t he.
Perhaps the saddest part of this whole shocking saga are Vinicius’ own words.
He tweeted after Sunday’s game: “Racism is normal in LaLiga.
“I’m so sad. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo and others [Lionel] Messi is part of racism today.”
Many of the leading players across Europe have supported the Brazilian star, as have his Real team-mates, and thank them for that.
But my point is this: you just shouldn’t have to.
It’s up to football and the football authorities to clean this up, not individuals like Vinicius.
From what I’ve seen and heard in Spain there is little or no interest in it.