The Spanish soccer authorities have taken drastic measures after Real Madrid’s Vinícius Jr. faced racist abuse from Valencia fans and a controversial red card in a league match on Sunday.
The Brazilian star was involved in a tense clash with Valencia supporters, who reportedly hurled racist insults and gestures at him from the stands.
He also received a red card for hitting Hugo Duro in the face after the Valencia player grabbed him by the neck, triggering sarcastic cheers from the home crowd.
Vinícius Jr. denounced the racism and the lack of action from La Liga in a social media post after the game, which Real Madrid lost 1-0.
According to Marca, La Liga has responded by dismissing six officials, including Iglesias Villanueva, who was in charge of VAR during the game.
The report said that the images shown to the referee De Burgos Bengoechea that led to Vinícius Jr.’s red card were incomplete and did not show the whole incident.
“They cannot explain why the sequence sent only showed the Brazilian’s blow to Hugo Duro’s face and not the rest of the play,” it said.
Real Madrid also issued a statement condemning the racist attacks against their player and filing a report with the Attorney General’s Office, specifically with the Prosecutor’s Office against crimes of hatred and discrimination.
They said that such attacks were “a direct attack on the social and democratic model of coexistence of our State based on the rule of law” and “a hate crime.”
Real Madrid’s coach Carlo Ancelotti also expressed his anger at La Liga and the Valencia fans, saying that “what happened today shouldn’t happen.”
“For a stadium to shout ‘monkey’ at a player and for a coach to think about taking him off for that… There’s something wrong with this league,” he said.
“It has to be stopped. And I would say the same if we won 3-0.”
Vinícius Jr., who is Black, has been a frequent target of racist abuse since he joined Real Madrid five years ago, and especially this season after he started celebrating his goals by dancing.
He said that racism was “normal” in La Liga and that “the competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it.”
He also apologized to Spaniards who did not agree with racism, but said that “today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.”
The case has sparked widespread support for Vinícius Jr. from sports figures and government officials in Spain and worldwide.
The Brazilian government officials, including President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, had publicly expressed their concerns.
The incident also comes after seven people were arrested in Spain on Tuesday for allegedly racially abusing Vinícius Jr. in different occasions.
Three were detained in Valencia for allegedly abusing him on Sunday, while four were arrested in Madrid for allegedly hanging an effigy of him off a highway bridge in January before a derby match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
The effigy was a black figure with Vinícius Jr.’s name on it, tied by a rope around its neck and hanged from an overpass with a banner that read “Madrid hates Real.”
The police said that three of those arrested were members of one of Atletico’s fan groups, and the other was a follower of the group.
Some had previous records with police for other crimes.
The men arrested were between 19 and 24 years old.
Authorities said some were previously identified during matches considered at high risk of violence.
Police showed images of them arriving in handcuffs and escorted by agents on Tuesday.
Spain has been criticized for its lack of action in racism cases in soccer.
Vinícius Jr. has called for more measures to stop racism, such as stopping games or banning fans from stadiums.