What is LaLiga’s new ‘anti-racism’ plan to protect Real Madrid’s Vinícius?
A new ‘anti-racism’ measure will be deployed for the first time when Real Madrid and Vinícius Júnior face Osasuna in LaLiga.
An ‘anti-racism’ measure designed by LaLiga president Javier Tebas will make its debut on Saturday night at El Sadar as Osasuna take on Real Madrid. Los Blancos’ Brazilian attacker Vinícius Júnior has been subjected to vile racist abuse at various different stadiums in Spain this season, a trend which sadly appears to be on the rise. As a result, the league have decided to adopt a new strategy in an attempt to tackle the issue. “LaLiga cannot have a player who is viciously insulted in every stadium that he plays in. It is clear that we have a problem and we must find a solution”, Tebas explained last week.
For now, the operation will focus solely on Real Madrid’s away matches, where such insults have been continuously detected, with Vinícius the main target. Deploying the measures in matches involving other teams hasn’t been ruled out, but isn’t deemed necessary as things stand. In their efforts to stamp out the insults, LaLiga have proposed infiltrating three or four spectators in the most ‘partizan’ stands in each ground, whose job it is to report the insults and identify the perpetrators.
The latter part of the plan is the most crucial one, as has already been seen in two earlier cases. In 2020, an Espanyol fan who hurled xenophobic abuse towards Athletic Club attacker Iñaki Williams was identified, with the Barcelona Hate Crimes Prosecutor’s Office requesting that the individual serve a two-year prison sentence, pay a fine of almost €6,000 and be banned from entering sports venues for five years. On the flip side, however, Vinicius was the target of racist insults from a supporter at Camp Nou in October 2021 and, despite the fact that it was clearly recorded by television cameras, the prosecution closed the case, as the Mossos d’Esquadra, the autonomous police force in Catalonia, were unable to identify who shouted the insult.
Tougher punishments for offenders
This is perhaps LaLiga’s most innovative idea as they look to stamp racism out but not the first: Tebas has sent a letter to the presidents of the first and second divisions clubs, asking them to do as much as they possibly can to combat the issue and to identify offending fans immediately. He also encouraged the clubs of players who had been insulted to file official complaints, while a special email account has been set up (StopRacismo@laliga.es) for fans who wish to report racist abuse.
And, to avoid any issues with the Prosecutor’s office and streamline the process, LaLiga is now able to directly notify the Instruction Courts, who are in charge of investigating the crime, rather than first report it to Spain Anti-Violence Commission. This is what happened when Vinícius received racist abuse in Real Madrid’s game away to both Real Valladolid and Real Mallorca. The next step is to toughen punishments: LaLiga wants to have the power to close stands, which is currently the responsibility of the RFEF Competition Committee. In addition, each case is reported to the Anti-Violence Commission so that it can issue the fines that it sees fit.