The president of Spain’s soccer federation has acknowledged that the country currently has a problem with racism in football, following the allegations of crowd racism towards Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian international claimed that he was subjected to racist abuse before and during his side's game with Valencia on Sunday 21 May.
Vinicius claims this has happened on multiple occasions throughout the season and he even attempted to bring the issue to the attention of the referee during the game at the Mestalla Stadium.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti called on the Spanish football authorities to “act forcefully” to combat racism in his post match interview.
The Italian head coach refused to discuss his side's 1-0 defeat to Valencia and shifted the focus onto the racist abuse suffered by his player.
Real Madrid have asked the Spanish authorities to investigate the latest incident as a hate crime, but how have the authorities responded to the incident and what did Vincius and his manager say after the game?
Here is everything you need to know.
How have the Spanish authorities responded to the incident with Vinicius Jr?
Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales has admitted that La Liga currently has a serious problem with racism and describes it as an issue which stains an entire country.
Rubiales said: “We have a problem of behaviour, of education, of racism.
“And as long as there is one fan or one group of fans making insults based on someone’s sexual orientation or skin colour or belief, then we have a serious problem. A serious problem that stains an entire team, an entire fanbase and an entire country.”
Valencia CF are currently looking into the allegations and the club said it has given one fan a lifetime ban from entering their stadium.
Valencia released the following statement: “From the moment that the unfortunate events occurred, the club has analysed all available footage, working alongside the authorities as rapidly as possible to clarify what happened in order to be able to act quickly and forcefully.”
The club added that it is working closely with the police to identify more culprits.
What happened during the game between Valencia and Real Madrid?
Valencia boosted their hopes of survival in La Liga with a crucial 1-0 victory against Real Madrid, but the match was largely overshadowed by incidents off the pitch.
Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr was subjected to alleged racist abuse before and during the contest. In the 70th minute, the game was briefly paused as Vinicius attempted to point out fans in the crowd who he believed were abusing him.
The Brazilian winger was later sent off for the first time in La Liga for his involvement in a mass altercation between the two sets of players.
What did Carlo Ancelotti say after the game?
Carlo Ancelotti expressed his anger after the game during his post match interview.
The Italian said: “What we saw today is unacceptable - an entire stadium chanting racist slurs. I don’t want to talk about football today. There is no meaning in talking about football today. I told the referee he should have stopped the match.
“La Liga has a problem. For me, Vinicius is the most important player in the world. These episodes of racism have to stop the match.
“It’s the entire stadium that is insulting a player with racist chants and the match has to stop. I would say the same if we were winning 3-0. There is no other way.”
Ancelotti also revealed that he had considered substituting Vinicius during the game and added that his sending off was understandable due to the circumstances.
He added: “I asked him (Vinicius) if he wanted to keep playing, and he stayed in the game. Vinicius is very sad; he is angry. Something like this can’t happen in the world we live in.”
Valencia said they would investigate the issue and take the most severe measures.
Valencia released a statement saying: “Valencia CF wishes to publicly condemn any type of insult, attack or disqualification in football.
“Although this is an isolated episode, insults to any player from the rival team have no place in football and do not fit in with the values and identity of Valencia CF.”
What has Vinicius Jr said?
Vinicius Jr expressed his frustration at the incident in an emotional Instagram post. During the post he explains that he has been racially abused at several points throughout the campaign.
Vinicius posted: “It wasn’t the first time, not the second and not the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it's normal, so does the Federation and the opponents encourage it. I am so sorry. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi, today belongs to the racists.
“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and I love, but which accepted to export the image to the world of a racist country. Sorry for the Spaniards which do not agree, but today in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.
“And unfortunately with everything that happens on a weekly basis, I have no way to defend. I agree. But I’m strong and will go to the end against the racists. Even though it's far from here.”
What else has been said?
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and several members of his cabinet ministers backed Vinicius’s claims.
Lula said: “It is not fair that a poor boy who is winning in his life, becoming one of the best in the world, certainly the best at Real Madrid, is insulted in every stadium he goes to.”
Spanish league president Javier Tebas criticised Vinicius for attacking the league and claims the player did not show up for talks on racism that he had requested himself.
Vinicius expressed his dissatisfaction at Tebas’ stance. He said: “Instead of criticizing racists, the league president shows up on social media to attack me. Although you may say otherwise or pretend not to notice, the image of your championship is shaken. Omitting yourself only makes you equal to the racists. I’m not your friend to talk to about racism with you. I want actions and punishments.”
Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand defended Vinicius Jr on Twitter.
He said: “How many times do we need to see this young man subjected to this s**t.”
These thoughts were echoed by Match of The Day host Gary Lineker who added: “Once again, the player being abused is the only person to be punished.”
Valencia footballer Justin Kluivert also said: “We apologise to Vincius on behalf of Valencia, we can’t accept racist insults.”