Real Madrid’s Vinícius Júnior says Spanish league ‘now belongs to racists’ after enduring more on-field abuse

Van Everyman

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Is there a reason this hasn't been discussed here? I'm seeing this story all over my social media feeds and I am not really a soccer fan.

MADRID — Vinícius Júnior was subjected to racist abuse yet again Sunday with the Brazilian soccer star saying the Spanish league “now belongs to racists.”

The latest abuse against Vinícius came in Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss at Valencia, a match that had to be temporarily stopped after the Brazil forward said he was insulted by a fan behind one of the goals at Mestalla Stadium.

“It wasn’t the first time, or the second or the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga. The competition thinks it’s normal, as does the federation, and the opponents encourage it,” Vinícius said on Instagram and Twitter. “The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi now belongs to racists ... But I’m strong and I will fight until the end against the racists. Even if far from here.”
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/05/21/sports/real-madrids-vincius-jnior-says-spanish-league-now-belongs-racists-after-enduring-more-abuse/
 

bosox4283

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I originally only saw the video of the grabbing-and-shoving match Vinicius was in, and then I saw a reference to racism which I assumed was that a player taunted Vinicius, and then I saw a writer defending Valencia FC, and then I saw the videos of the fans at Valencia FC and the fans' behavior was horrible and embarrassing and they need to be barred from having fans for a few games. If the Spanish Federation or whichever group is actually in charge doesn't do anything then, by extension, they are complicit in this racism. But those two bozos who run Spanish League and Spanish Federation will probably do nothing or make things worse.
 
Last edited:

Zososoxfan

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This is the post match interview a lot of people are talking about. Ancelotti (rightly so) wants to address the terrible racism issue, and does not want to talk about the football. I've not yet found a version that has English Subitles, if anyone finds such a version please post it.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SidQaUJzshI&ab_channel=especialmundial
I'm always impressed when these personalities can speak multiple languages so fluently. Like, how many languages do you need to speak to manage at a major club? At least 2-3 right?

More importantly, Spain deserves a lot of derision for how they handle these matters. This type of abuse has happened consistently for years and really nothing ever changes. It's some shameful shit.
 

Cellar-Door

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yeah this popped up on my radar when someone at ESPN (Paul Carr?) ripped La Liga TV's English broadcast for saying basically "well racism is bad but Vinicius isn't a saint, he provoked the crowd, he should take a look at his actions "
The league is fundamentally rotten to it's core, the racism is a small part of it, it's an insanely corrupt criminal organization at it's core.
 

bosox4283

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This is the post match interview a lot of people are talking about. Ancelotti (rightly so) wants to address the terrible racism issue, and does not want to talk about the football. I've not yet found a version that has English Subitles, if anyone finds such a version please post it.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SidQaUJzshI&ab_channel=especialmundial
Ancelotti refuses to talk about football, defends Vinicius, insists that the game should have been stopped, says that La Liga has a problem since this event of racism is not a one-off event but a recurrence, urges the La Liga to take action but expresses his doubts that anything will happen given the lack of action whenever it has happened at other stadiums, replies that Vinicius is hurt and sad but adds that it is more like a sadness rather than anger, responds to the interviewer when she asks what about Vinicius's insults to fans by saying that it is normal that Vinicius taunted back given the racism directed to him.
 

rguilmar

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Is there a reason this hasn't been discussed here? I'm seeing this story all over my social media feeds and I am not really a soccer fan.


https://www.bostonglobe.com/2023/05/21/sports/real-madrids-vincius-jnior-says-spanish-league-now-belongs-racists-after-enduring-more-abuse/
I’ve been holding back a bit just to get as many facts as I could before commenting. There was some mention in the post game interview with Ancelloti that the fans were chanting “tonto” (dummy) not “mono” (monkey). The Spanish papers either downplayed it or seemed to blame Vini. I wanted to hear what the guys at the Spanish Football Podcast had to say as they all live in Spain. They pretty backed up my initial feeling which was that there were some pretty widespread racist abuse being hurled at the player. In fact, they took their cue from Carlo and didn’t talk about soccer at all in this week’s pod.

There is a ton of background to this and I don’t know how much has been mentioned. It started with a Spanish referees official commenting on Vini saying he should do his dancing in Brazil and stop “playing the monkey”. This was right before a derby at Atletico who have a known group of ultras who are essentially Nazis. There was a dummy of Vini hung in effigy and lots of fans making monkey sounds at Vini both before and during the game. It was awful and he’s been dealing with the taunts pretty much all season.

Spain has a massive problem with racism, especially in soccer. Perhaps the biggest problem is that they don’t think it’s a problem. By and large, many people think it’s totally acceptable as a fan to racially abuse a player in this way to get the player off their game. I am willing to bet that a good number of the people chanting in Valencia would even say that they are not racist, that this is just part of their roles as fans to get under an opponent’s skin. Generally speaking, Spain as a country has a problem with race when it comes to labor issues, not too dissimilar from what we see in the US, and it’s especially acute in rural areas that rely on migrant laborers (who used to come mostly from Eastern Europe and now come mostly from Africa) and in particular fields (racism against Asians in the tech industry). Spain as a country was essentially a pariah state closed off to the rest of the world under the Franco dictatorship, so many Spaniards grew up without being exposed to people from different cultures. Add to that the identity politics of the various autonomous communities who see themselves as unique and separate (and often superior) from the rest of Spain, and there is a terrible recipe for rampant racism. Nico Williams was so badly abused by his own fans after missing two golden opportunities to score in their Copa del Rey semi against Osasuna that he shut down his social media accounts. And he’s born-and-raised Basque playing at Athletic Club (if you don’t know, you have to be Basque to play for them). The reality is that the majority of people in Spain including my dear Catalans don’t see a problem with what’s happening at all.

La Liga itself is also to blame here. They’ve generally take a hands off approach and let either the authorities deal with issues of racism or individual clubs to ban fans, which they often do for life. President Tebas has seemingly consistently blamed Vini for being the instigator and the league has done nothing to punish clubs for fan behavior. Nothing will change until clubs have to play before empty stadiums or have their transfer budgets hit.

To end on a positive note, there has been a huge generational shift, at least from what I can see. Younger Spaniards are much more accepting of people who look different, they’re much more likely to have travelled and been exposed to different cultures. People of my grandfather’s generation grew up poor in an isolated country, and rarely left their hometown. Now my cousins travel across Spain and Europe, meet new people, and are much more accepting than their parents.
 

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Kliq

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I’ve been holding back a bit just to get as many facts as I could before commenting. There was some mention in the post game interview with Ancelloti that the fans were chanting “tonto” (dummy) not “mono” (monkey). The Spanish papers either downplayed it or seemed to blame Vini. I wanted to hear what the guys at the Spanish Football Podcast had to say as they all live in Spain. They pretty backed up my initial feeling which was that there were some pretty widespread racist abuse being hurled at the player. In fact, they took their cue from Carlo and didn’t talk about soccer at all in this week’s pod.

There is a ton of background to this and I don’t know how much has been mentioned. It started with a Spanish referees official commenting on Vini saying he should do his dancing in Brazil and stop “playing the monkey”. This was right before a derby at Atletico who have a known group of ultras who are essentially Nazis. There was a dummy of Vini hung in effigy and lots of fans making monkey sounds at Vini both before and during the game. It was awful and he’s been dealing with the taunts pretty much all season.

Spain has a massive problem with racism, especially in soccer. Perhaps the biggest problem is that they don’t think it’s a problem. By and large, many people think it’s totally acceptable as a fan to racially abuse a player in this way to get the player off their game. I am willing to bet that a good number of the people chanting in Valencia would even say that they are not racist, that this is just part of their roles as fans to get under an opponent’s skin. Generally speaking, Spain as a country has a problem with race when it comes to labor issues, not too dissimilar from what we see in the US, and it’s especially acute in rural areas that rely on migrant laborers (who used to come mostly from Eastern Europe and now come mostly from Africa) and in particular fields (racism against Asians in the tech industry). Spain as a country was essentially a pariah state closed off to the rest of the world under the Franco dictatorship, so many Spaniards grew up without being exposed to people from different cultures. Add to that the identity politics of the various autonomous communities who see themselves as unique and separate (and often superior) from the rest of Spain, and there is a terrible recipe for rampant racism. Nico Williams was so badly abused by his own fans after missing two golden opportunities to score in their Copa del Rey semi against Osasuna that he shut down his social media accounts. And he’s born-and-raised Basque playing at Athletic Club (if you don’t know, you have to be Basque to play for them). The reality is that the majority of people in Spain including my dear Catalans don’t see a problem with what’s happening at all.

La Liga itself is also to blame here. They’ve generally take a hands off approach and let either the authorities deal with issues of racism or individual clubs to ban fans, which they often do for life. President Tebas has seemingly consistently blamed Vini for being the instigator and the league has done nothing to punish clubs for fan behavior. Nothing will change until clubs have to play before empty stadiums or have their transfer budgets hit.

To end on a positive note, there has been a huge generational shift, at least from what I can see. Younger Spaniards are much more accepting of people who look different, they’re much more likely to have travelled and been exposed to different cultures. People of my grandfather’s generation grew up poor in an isolated country, and rarely left their hometown. Now my cousins travel across Spain and Europe, meet new people, and are much more accepting than their parents.
Appreciate the insight and thoughtfulness of this post.
 

rguilmar

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I find it hard to believe anything LaLiga says about this given that it's President thought it was cool immediately after Vinicius tweeted about his experience to tweet back at him that he was being manipulated and that he needed to "inform yourself properly."

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-12109943/Vinicius-Jnr-blasts-LaLiga-president-Javier-Tebas-red-card-having-reacted-racist-abuse.html
This has been Tebas’ response each time Vini has criticized La Liga for their response, or lack thereof. Tebas wants to imply that La Liga is doing something behind the scenes to address racism in the stands. Spoiler alert: they’re not. They just take whatever evidence they have they pass it on to the authorities who rarely pursue charges.

It was the height of douchebaggery the first time he said it, and it’s worse now.
 

BringBackMo

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I’ve been holding back a bit just to get as many facts as I could before commenting. There was some mention in the post game interview with Ancelloti that the fans were chanting “tonto” (dummy) not “mono” (monkey). The Spanish papers either downplayed it or seemed to blame Vini. I wanted to hear what the guys at the Spanish Football Podcast had to say as they all live in Spain. They pretty backed up my initial feeling which was that there were some pretty widespread racist abuse being hurled at the player. In fact, they took their cue from Carlo and didn’t talk about soccer at all in this week’s pod.

There is a ton of background to this and I don’t know how much has been mentioned. It started with a Spanish referees official commenting on Vini saying he should do his dancing in Brazil and stop “playing the monkey”. This was right before a derby at Atletico who have a known group of ultras who are essentially Nazis. There was a dummy of Vini hung in effigy and lots of fans making monkey sounds at Vini both before and during the game. It was awful and he’s been dealing with the taunts pretty much all season.

Spain has a massive problem with racism, especially in soccer. Perhaps the biggest problem is that they don’t think it’s a problem. By and large, many people think it’s totally acceptable as a fan to racially abuse a player in this way to get the player off their game. I am willing to bet that a good number of the people chanting in Valencia would even say that they are not racist, that this is just part of their roles as fans to get under an opponent’s skin. Generally speaking, Spain as a country has a problem with race when it comes to labor issues, not too dissimilar from what we see in the US, and it’s especially acute in rural areas that rely on migrant laborers (who used to come mostly from Eastern Europe and now come mostly from Africa) and in particular fields (racism against Asians in the tech industry). Spain as a country was essentially a pariah state closed off to the rest of the world under the Franco dictatorship, so many Spaniards grew up without being exposed to people from different cultures. Add to that the identity politics of the various autonomous communities who see themselves as unique and separate (and often superior) from the rest of Spain, and there is a terrible recipe for rampant racism. Nico Williams was so badly abused by his own fans after missing two golden opportunities to score in their Copa del Rey semi against Osasuna that he shut down his social media accounts. And he’s born-and-raised Basque playing at Athletic Club (if you don’t know, you have to be Basque to play for them). The reality is that the majority of people in Spain including my dear Catalans don’t see a problem with what’s happening at all.

La Liga itself is also to blame here. They’ve generally take a hands off approach and let either the authorities deal with issues of racism or individual clubs to ban fans, which they often do for life. President Tebas has seemingly consistently blamed Vini for being the instigator and the league has done nothing to punish clubs for fan behavior. Nothing will change until clubs have to play before empty stadiums or have their transfer budgets hit.

To end on a positive note, there has been a huge generational shift, at least from what I can see. Younger Spaniards are much more accepting of people who look different, they’re much more likely to have travelled and been exposed to different cultures. People of my grandfather’s generation grew up poor in an isolated country, and rarely left their hometown. Now my cousins travel across Spain and Europe, meet new people, and are much more accepting than their parents.
Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I very much appreciate the context. I know little about the dynamics of Spanish society, and less about the country’s soccer culture, but your post confirms my suspicion that there are some significant problems with the league’s leadership. Is there anything FIFA could do, assuming that ITS corrupt leadership wanted to?
 

Van Everyman

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I’ve been holding back a bit just to get as many facts as I could before commenting. There was some mention in the post game interview with Ancelloti that the fans were chanting “tonto” (dummy) not “mono” (monkey). The Spanish papers either downplayed it or seemed to blame Vini. I wanted to hear what the guys at the Spanish Football Podcast had to say as they all live in Spain. They pretty backed up my initial feeling which was that there were some pretty widespread racist abuse being hurled at the player. In fact, they took their cue from Carlo and didn’t talk about soccer at all in this week’s pod.

There is a ton of background to this and I don’t know how much has been mentioned. It started with a Spanish referees official commenting on Vini saying he should do his dancing in Brazil and stop “playing the monkey”. This was right before a derby at Atletico who have a known group of ultras who are essentially Nazis. There was a dummy of Vini hung in effigy and lots of fans making monkey sounds at Vini both before and during the game. It was awful and he’s been dealing with the taunts pretty much all season.

Spain has a massive problem with racism, especially in soccer. Perhaps the biggest problem is that they don’t think it’s a problem. By and large, many people think it’s totally acceptable as a fan to racially abuse a player in this way to get the player off their game. I am willing to bet that a good number of the people chanting in Valencia would even say that they are not racist, that this is just part of their roles as fans to get under an opponent’s skin. Generally speaking, Spain as a country has a problem with race when it comes to labor issues, not too dissimilar from what we see in the US, and it’s especially acute in rural areas that rely on migrant laborers (who used to come mostly from Eastern Europe and now come mostly from Africa) and in particular fields (racism against Asians in the tech industry). Spain as a country was essentially a pariah state closed off to the rest of the world under the Franco dictatorship, so many Spaniards grew up without being exposed to people from different cultures. Add to that the identity politics of the various autonomous communities who see themselves as unique and separate (and often superior) from the rest of Spain, and there is a terrible recipe for rampant racism. Nico Williams was so badly abused by his own fans after missing two golden opportunities to score in their Copa del Rey semi against Osasuna that he shut down his social media accounts. And he’s born-and-raised Basque playing at Athletic Club (if you don’t know, you have to be Basque to play for them). The reality is that the majority of people in Spain including my dear Catalans don’t see a problem with what’s happening at all.

La Liga itself is also to blame here. They’ve generally take a hands off approach and let either the authorities deal with issues of racism or individual clubs to ban fans, which they often do for life. President Tebas has seemingly consistently blamed Vini for being the instigator and the league has done nothing to punish clubs for fan behavior. Nothing will change until clubs have to play before empty stadiums or have their transfer budgets hit.

To end on a positive note, there has been a huge generational shift, at least from what I can see. Younger Spaniards are much more accepting of people who look different, they’re much more likely to have travelled and been exposed to different cultures. People of my grandfather’s generation grew up poor in an isolated country, and rarely left their hometown. Now my cousins travel across Spain and Europe, meet new people, and are much more accepting than their parents.
Appreciate the insight and thoughtfulness of this post.
Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I very much appreciate the context. I know little about the dynamics of Spanish society, and less about the country’s soccer culture, but your post confirms my suspicion that there are some significant problems with the league’s leadership. Is there anything FIFA could do, assuming that ITS corrupt leadership wanted to?
Agreed, this is very helpful, especially your point around Franco isolating the people from European multiculturalism. I lived in Spain for a few months back in the early 1990s and you could tell that it was still shaking itself loose of his tyranny even then. Then when I was there last year, I was encouraged by what a warm and vibrant culture it has become. So while I hate hearing about this stuff happening, I appreciate you sharing that your insights and hope that this dynamic is changing with younger generations overall.
 

shaggydog2000

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This has been Tebas’ response each time Vini has criticized La Liga for their response, or lack thereof. Tebas wants to imply that La Liga is doing something behind the scenes to address racism in the stands. Spoiler alert: they’re not. They just take whatever evidence they have they pass it on to the authorities who rarely pursue charges.

It was the height of douchebaggery the first time he said it, and it’s worse now.
It feels like Spanish and Italian football just doesn't think this sort of thing is a big deal at all and hate that outsiders make a big deal out of it. England has these issues crop up now and then, but they at least ban people from stadiums and try to do something about it. I have no idea how France and Germany do on this, I just don't remember hearing about these issues there.
 

SocrManiac

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If Vini were to leave Spain in protest of their handling of this situation, would the “punishment” he inflicts on the league be felt? It hurts Real Madrid, certainly, and weakens them relative to the competition. The racist groups will feel they’ve won, which is a worst-case outcome.

In order for him to win in this scenario, he would need to feel any financial hit (if there is one) is offset by the statement he’s making. Would La Liga care if one of their youngest and biggest stars left the league over this issue? He’s already in a battle with Nike, but would sponsors help him make a stand?

I genuinely don’t know answers to any of these questions. I just don’t see how this can remain the status quo for him as a human being or the league as a whole. It’s insane that he is forced to deal with this week in and week out. For all the hot takes saying he’s thin skinned or that he allows this to affect him… Fuck that. He’s put up with more than anybody judging him ever will.
 

trs

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I’ve been holding back a bit just to get as many facts as I could before commenting. There was some mention in the post game interview with Ancelloti that the fans were chanting “tonto” (dummy) not “mono” (monkey). The Spanish papers either downplayed it or seemed to blame Vini. I wanted to hear what the guys at the Spanish Football Podcast had to say as they all live in Spain. They pretty backed up my initial feeling which was that there were some pretty widespread racist abuse being hurled at the player. In fact, they took their cue from Carlo and didn’t talk about soccer at all in this week’s pod.

There is a ton of background to this and I don’t know how much has been mentioned. It started with a Spanish referees official commenting on Vini saying he should do his dancing in Brazil and stop “playing the monkey”. This was right before a derby at Atletico who have a known group of ultras who are essentially Nazis. There was a dummy of Vini hung in effigy and lots of fans making monkey sounds at Vini both before and during the game. It was awful and he’s been dealing with the taunts pretty much all season.

Spain has a massive problem with racism, especially in soccer. Perhaps the biggest problem is that they don’t think it’s a problem. By and large, many people think it’s totally acceptable as a fan to racially abuse a player in this way to get the player off their game. I am willing to bet that a good number of the people chanting in Valencia would even say that they are not racist, that this is just part of their roles as fans to get under an opponent’s skin. Generally speaking, Spain as a country has a problem with race when it comes to labor issues, not too dissimilar from what we see in the US, and it’s especially acute in rural areas that rely on migrant laborers (who used to come mostly from Eastern Europe and now come mostly from Africa) and in particular fields (racism against Asians in the tech industry). Spain as a country was essentially a pariah state closed off to the rest of the world under the Franco dictatorship, so many Spaniards grew up without being exposed to people from different cultures. Add to that the identity politics of the various autonomous communities who see themselves as unique and separate (and often superior) from the rest of Spain, and there is a terrible recipe for rampant racism. Nico Williams was so badly abused by his own fans after missing two golden opportunities to score in their Copa del Rey semi against Osasuna that he shut down his social media accounts. And he’s born-and-raised Basque playing at Athletic Club (if you don’t know, you have to be Basque to play for them). The reality is that the majority of people in Spain including my dear Catalans don’t see a problem with what’s happening at all.

La Liga itself is also to blame here. They’ve generally take a hands off approach and let either the authorities deal with issues of racism or individual clubs to ban fans, which they often do for life. President Tebas has seemingly consistently blamed Vini for being the instigator and the league has done nothing to punish clubs for fan behavior. Nothing will change until clubs have to play before empty stadiums or have their transfer budgets hit.

To end on a positive note, there has been a huge generational shift, at least from what I can see. Younger Spaniards are much more accepting of people who look different, they’re much more likely to have travelled and been exposed to different cultures. People of my grandfather’s generation grew up poor in an isolated country, and rarely left their hometown. Now my cousins travel across Spain and Europe, meet new people, and are much more accepting than their parents.
This is a fantastic response, and I'm not going to be able to add much at all, but I did want to offer a few thoughts on this as well.

In terms of my perspective, I'm an American who has lived in Spain now for 15 years, all in Madrid. I still live in many ways an expat life, partially due to the job I have, but also I suppose decisions I've made, so I in no way have a direct line into Spanish culture or attitudes, and all that follows is largely observational. I also wrote a bit about this in this forum a few years back after a similar incident of racism was discussed here and talked about my own experience at an Atletico game, also against Real Madrid, when Marcello was targeted with racist abuse. It's real, it's rampant, and it's disgusting. You will be hard-pressed to attend a game in Spain that features a black player on the opposing side and NOT hear "mono" or literal monkey noises. In 2023.

First of all, I believe Ancelotti was 100% correct in how he responded after the game. What is tragic is not what happened in Valencia; what is tragic is that it happens in every game Vini plays in. Find any of the people fetching balls on the sidelines and ask them what they hear, and if they're honest, they'll tell you exactly what Vini and Ancelotti have said. That racist abuse happens at soccer games in Spain is not up for debate, and if it doesn't, that has more to do with the hues on the field than the beliefs of the fans.

Now what follows very well might stray into V&N type stuff, but I'll do my best to keep it all connected to the sport. The issue, though, is not soccer, it's where the soccer is being played. Of course it very well might be that a large majority of those that come to watch soccer in Spain do not think that "think it’s totally acceptable as a fan to racially abuse a player in this way to get the player off their game" as @rguilmar so aptly put it, but there are plenty who do, and plenty more that won't do anything to stop that behavior.

How did we get here? Some of it is undoubtedly ingrained into society here. Spain is a wonderful place in many ways, but it has a troubling past, similar to many other countries. There is also a sense of protecting "tradition" here, which materializes in many wonderful ways like with local festivals celebrating lazy farmers who let God save his child from a well (San Isidro) to artisanal crafts to gorgeous plazas. There's a real sense of history here -- it's one of the reasons so many tourists come! That and the beaches and cheap beer, I suppose... But latent in that same sense of tradition is a belief (of many) that certain things belong the way they always were and that other "aspects" of society need to be protected. This belief has led many to support a growing far-right/anti-progressive political party Vox and has pushed the conservative party (PP) further from the center. One of these aspects is the essentially anti-meritocratic belief that certain positions of power and privilege should be reserved for certain people -- specifically white (and male frequently, though this does seem to be changing a bit). One need only look at some random photographic evidence of this (Directors of the National Police - scroll down, Spanish Senate - click randomly). Now Spain is not unique in this, but ask many here to draw a picture of a "Spaniard" and you'll get a white guy. Some of this is due to prevailing European ideas about nationality and immigration, but it's also the idea that many have that even if you were born here, the "where are you from" question is meant to get a city as an answer if you're white and a country as an answer if you're not (now they certainly expect a country from me, but that has far more to do with my accent... totally fair.)

Keep in mind that in Spain, many people still call convenience stores "chinos." Do they mean it in a racist manner? Probably not. is it racist? Well, associating an entire culture and country with a place you buy a bottle of coke or last-minute groceries might develop certain expectations over time.

So, what I want to get at, is that I don't think La Liga can fix this. Punishing the few fans they have on video saying despicable things is necessary, but it won't do much on its own, but damn, doing something at that level is a necessary first step. The problem is that La Liga want this just to go away, and they have found that taking the top off the kettle works much easier than trying to figure out why the stove won't turn off. They do this by responding in the moment with Instagram posts and a few appeals to the DA. Then they wait. The news cycles through (this season is almost over remember), and no systemic change is necessary. That being said, eventually the pot is going to run out of water, and you've got a problem then too. To stretch this metaphor to the ridiculous, that's what happens when players like Vini just get up and fucking leave. Not sure that fixes anything either.

My hope is that this stays in the news for awhile and starts a dialogue. What causes Vini (and others) to get abused started well before the match. It started in households, schools, friend groups. The current dialogue is toxic in many ways (https://elpais.com/espana/elecciones-madrid/2021-04-20/mas-madrid-denuncia-a-la-fiscalia-un-cartel-electoral-de-vox-contra-los-menores-migrantes.html) but just like existential issues and challenges in other countries can't be solved only with punishments and laws, Spain needs to figure out who it wants to be. This is a good place to start.
 

Van Everyman

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Another great post, thanks.

What about sponsors? Historically in the United States that has been the way of getting at these types of organizations that won’t self police.
 

rguilmar

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It feels like Spanish and Italian football just doesn't think this sort of thing is a big deal at all and hate that outsiders make a big deal out of it. England has these issues crop up now and then, but they at least ban people from stadiums and try to do something about it. I have no idea how France and Germany do on this, I just don't remember hearing about these issues there.
I would agree that the leagues don’t seem to consider this to be that important of an issue. However, La Liga clubs do pretty routinely give out lifetime bans. Atletico alone have banned more than a hundred fans for a lifetime.

I hesitate to speak for the entire country as it is more a collection of countries than a unified entity, and most of my family lives in the northeast regions that consider themselves not Spanish like Catalunya and Navarre. This is a country with a national anthem that has no lyrics partially because they could never agree on the words, or even the language. This is a place where the anthem is often booed as are the political leaders. So there is no one “Spain” or “Spanish identity”. I do have family in Andalusia which is certainly more “Spanish”. @trs obviously brings much more knowledge about central Spain as he lives there. That being said, broadly speaking, across Spain, they don’t consider racism a problem or they don’t consider this actual racism. Without a doubt, there are people in Spain who are openly racist. However, there is a large group of people who will say that people should not be denied housing, a job, or anything like that because of their race, that we are all born equal and should be treated equally under the law, but that making monkey sounds at a soccer game is not racist. They would put this in the same category as mocking an opposing player who is going through a divorce or who has gained weight. They will openly mock these things. Nothing feels taboo. Again, these are broad generalizations for a country loaded with nuance

Another great post, thanks.

What about sponsors? Historically in the United States that has been the way of getting at these types of organizations that won’t self police.
Most sponsors are local and regional sponsors, especially local beers and banks. I doubt this impacts their thinking at all. It’s also important to remember that clubs have large portions that are member owned with four clubs being totally member owned and are beholden to the socios. Until Spanish society as a whole sees this as a problem I am not sure where change comes from unless UEFA or La Liga starts punishing clubs. Or as @SocrManiac alluded to, prominent players like Vini leaving La Liga or refusing to come while publicly stating the reason why. Clubs with a more international reach like Real Madrid and Barcelona seem to have taken steps to address these issues, and clubs looking to expand their names outside of Spain like Real Betis also seem to be taking steps to create a more inclusive environment. But I’m not sure what a club like Rayo Vallecano who draw their fans from one neighborhood would see as a benefit (Rayo being a poor example because Vallecas is a huge immigrant neighborhood where these issues aren’t common).

I don’t know if Spain has more or less racism than other parts of Europe, or the world for that matter. What I do know is that many consider what has happened to Vini acceptable and normal, and that a surprising number of people who grew up in a more isolated Spain would say that this behavior isn’t racist at all but gamesmanship.
 

sdiaz1

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Apr 17, 2013
137
Some great, thoughtful insight above. Thank you!

My family is from Asturias by way of Cuba (Grandparents left Spain pre WW1 and they left Cuba after 61). I am so incredibly disappointed by the whole situation.

The last time I visited Spain to see family prepandemic; I remember thinking to myself that Spain was finally becoming a multi cultural, racially tolerant place. I drunkenly befriended a group of young multi racial Madrilleños in Plaza de Sol during a night of partying, was completely awed by a young Moroccan kid's ability to properly serve Sidra in Oviedo who spoke like a descendant of Pelayo and had to field a million questions from my 96 great aunt from the a tiny mountain village about how could we the United States tolerate such racist dialog from the highest levels of power.


This was quite a contrast to a previous visit in 2005 when I saw very few non-white faces and a 18 year old me was very disappointed when one of my Madrid based, pro-Franco Uncles took me to El Pardo when I thought we were going to El Prado (Yikes, definitely a different vibe)

Anyways back to something resembling relevancy, the league needs to do something immediately. If not just because it is the right thing to do but because it is a necessary thing for it to do if it wants to continue being the second most popular league.in the world. Unchecked racism and Ultraism is part of the reason why very few non-Italians follow Serie A and La Liga is at risk of falling into that same boat. The international TV revenue that the league generates is absolutely fundamental to the survival of so many teams.in the 1st and 2nd division that Spainish football can only continue to exist in it's current state if there is an international fan base.

A good first place to start would be the immediate sacking of Javier Tebas. The man has repeatedly attacked the most visible and well known victim of this racial abuse rather than actually take any modicum of responsibility for the matter. The gilipolla has got to go.

Then they should look at the executive board of the league and totally revamp it. Without knowing anything about the current board members job performances, I would not necessarily advocate anyone other than Tebas losing their job but the makeup of the board looks like a casting call for villains in the next season on Money Heist. The board should truly reflect all the stakeholders in Spanish footballers not just the regects from Banco Santander.

I also think that it's worth celebrating Vini Jr in all of this. He has taken a brave decision this year in standing up for not just himself but all footballers of color in Spain. He has made himself into enemy #1 to all the racist fucktards by repeatedly bringing this problem the attention it deserves.
 

limkangyoung

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May 19, 2023
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The funny thing is that if Real had won La Liga and not Barcelona - such statements would hardly have followed.
 

limkangyoung

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May 19, 2023
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Incidentally, this could be the new 'reason' for the creation of the Super League. Perhaps this is Florentino Perez's way of pulling the strings
 

rodderick

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As a Brazilian who follows Vini and Real Madrid mostly in European competitions and seldom watches La Liga matches, it's a bit of cognitive dissonance to see so many Spaniards hold this view of him as a provocateur bad boy on the pitch when I've never really seen him behave in that manner playing for Flamengo, the Seleção or in Champions League matches. I think it's impossible not to link this difference in behavior to the racial abuse he suffers from fans and specific targetting from opponents in Spain. It's disgraceful and clubs should be punished directly. Just start next season with a clear rule that racist chants from crowds will result in the loss of points for a first offense and automatic relegation for the second. That's the only language fans understand, La Liga can talk about identifying and punishing the specific fans who shouted abuse all it wants, I think it's completely unfeasible when there are literal thousands doing it, how could you possibly narrow it down to the individual? If your team's season is on the line, fans will self police. Actually, UEFA should be taking the charge here as well, not like these episodes are constrained to Spain, it's just not all that usual to see it directed repeatedly towards a specific high profile player.
 

SocrManiac

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As a Brazilian who follows Vini and Real Madrid mostly in European competitions and seldom watches La Liga matches, it's a bit of cognitive dissonance to see so many Spaniards hold this view of him as a provocateur bad boy on the pitch when I've never really seen him behave in that manner playing for Flamengo, the Seleção or in Champions League matches. I think it's impossible not to link this difference in behavior to the racial abuse he suffers from fans and specific targetting from opponents in Spain. It's disgraceful and clubs should be punished directly. Just start next season with a clear rule that racist chants from crowds will result in the loss of points for a first offense and automatic relegation for the second. That's the only language fans understand, La Liga can talk about identifying and punishing the specific fans who shouted abuse all it wants, I think it's completely unfeasible when there are literal thousands doing it, how could you possibly narrow it down to the individual? If your team's season is on the line, fans will self police. Actually, UEFA should be taking the charge here as well, not like these episodes are constrained to Spain, it's just not all that usual to see it directed repeatedly towards a specific high profile player.
Point deduction and relegation was my first thought as well, but wouldn't that devolve into planting fans in the crowd?
 

Kliq

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Point deduction and relegation was my first thought as well, but wouldn't that devolve into planting fans in the crowd?
Yeah or fans of other teams dressing as supporters for a rival club and chanting racist shit to try and get the rival club penalized.

I do think there is some logic to fans self-regulating this themselves. If they feel like there are real stakes involved if a racist chant catches on, the supporter groups will crack down on any perceived chant, no matter where it is coming from.
 

rguilmar

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Point deduction and relegation was my first thought as well, but wouldn't that devolve into planting fans in the crowd?
I’m not as worried about that at this point. Authorities and teams have been able to identify offenders and most if not all of the issues are coming from ultras and supporter groups who bulk purchase season tickets. They know when someone new is in the stands. For most La Liga teams there are more socios than seats in the stadium and single game purchases are harder and harder to come by (most empty seats are season ticket holders not interested in a 10 pm kickoff against Elche).

I’m for playing in empty stadiums. Punish the fans and the club at the same time. At the very least it can lead to more fan policing in the stands. It felt effective in the past.
 

SocrManiac

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I’m for playing in empty stadiums. Punish the fans and the club at the same time. At the very least it can lead to more fan policing in the stands. It felt effective in the past.
As long as part of the empty stadium penalty is that matchday employees get their paychecks. The penalty for racists shouldn't hurt the people depending on the fans for their paychecks.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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It feels like Spanish and Italian football just doesn't think this sort of thing is a big deal at all and hate that outsiders make a big deal out of it. England has these issues crop up now and then, but they at least ban people from stadiums and try to do something about it. I have no idea how France and Germany do on this, I just don't remember hearing about these issues there.
Yes. I remember a lot of issues with Balotelli even while playing for the Italian national team and then of course more recently with Lukaku.
 

rguilmar

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As long as part of the empty stadium penalty is that matchday employees get their paychecks. The penalty for racists shouldn't hurt the people depending on the fans for their paychecks.
I think you’re hitting on an important point and I vaguely remember this discussed in the past as a reason to not have teams play in front of no fans. It’s not just the game day employees, as there really aren’t many at Spanish stadiums and those usually tend to be kids. There is always a recognizable lack of gate attendants, no booze is sold at stadiums, and most fans bring their own food to the game which leads to the borderline comic scene of everyone taking a sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil out of their jackets at the halftime whistle. Outside the stadiums though, bars, restaurants, street vendors and so on depend on fans going to the game. All of these people will feel the hit of any punishment, whether it’s no fans, relegation, or a point deduction that impacts relegation/European competition. Perhaps a game day suspension of a supporters group involved in an incident? There has to be a meaningful, painful punishment for teams and fans.
 

trs

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An interesting post on the "Managing Madrid" blog - https://www.managingmadrid.com/2023/5/23/23734230/the-transcript-of-the-heated-exchange-between-the-referee-and-real-madrid-players-at-mestalla that has a translated transcript of the conversation between the referee, Vini, and others during the game.

That and the recent arrest of those accused of hanging the Vini effigy earlier this year is keeping the whole situation in the news here.

As has been said, there need to be penalties, and yes La Liga and the clubs are at fault, but they are the enablers, not necessarily the cause. The cause goes far deeper and won't be solved with point reductions and stadium bans. Penalize these teams for looking the other way, and sack the leaders and refs who have been unwilling to enforce whatever weak rules do exist.

But a lot more needs to be done outside of La Liga -- and outside of Spain.
 

sodenj5

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If Mbappe was still in play for Real Madrid I wonder if he could have flexed some muscle here.
I don’t think Mbappe has to do anything. I think Perez is well aware that this doesn’t cast Madrid in a flattering light, and this not only puts him in jeopardy of losing one of the game’s brightest young stars, but future stars of color as well.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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An interesting post on the "Managing Madrid" blog - https://www.managingmadrid.com/2023/5/23/23734230/the-transcript-of-the-heated-exchange-between-the-referee-and-real-madrid-players-at-mestalla that has a translated transcript of the conversation between the referee, Vini, and others during the game.

That and the recent arrest of those accused of hanging the Vini effigy earlier this year is keeping the whole situation in the news here.

As has been said, there need to be penalties, and yes La Liga and the clubs are at fault, but they are the enablers, not necessarily the cause. The cause goes far deeper and won't be solved with point reductions and stadium bans. Penalize these teams for looking the other way, and sack the leaders and refs who have been unwilling to enforce whatever weak rules do exist.

But a lot more needs to be done outside of La Liga -- and outside of Spain.
Also in that article is a link to this one...

https://www.managingmadrid.com/2023/5/23/23734020/valencia-real-madrid-var-2023-news-referee

Iglesias Villanueva never showed the images of Hugo Duro choking Vinicius Junior during the brawl at the end of the game. Instead, he only showed Vinicius’ punch, so the referee never got the proper context and ultimately allowed Hugo Duro to stay in the game.
 

Kliq

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I don't know if the element of racism in Spain will really cost clubs like Real Madrid or Barca any prominent players of color, the allure of playing for those clubs is still so overpowering. I also think, unfortunately, many players of color have accepted that racism is always going to be there and the treatment has become normalized. Lukaku had terrible things said about him by his own supporters at Inter, and yet, after moving to Chelsea, he was desperate to go back there.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don’t think Mbappe has to do anything. I think Perez is well aware that this doesn’t cast Madrid in a flattering light, and this not only puts him in jeopardy of losing one of the game’s brightest young stars, but future stars of color as well.
One of the interesting aspects of this situation is that Real Madrid - a club that in the past people have occasionally accused (fairly or unfairly) of shying away from having too many non-white players - has more black and brown players than ever before. They have rebuilt the side in recent years by adding Vini, Rodrygo, Tchouameni, Camavinga, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba, and Mendy. Endrick is on the way, Bellingham may be signed this summer, and Mbappe still seems like he'll end up there eventually.

I'm sure Florentino is just signing the best players and many happen to be non-white. But it really puts the country's biggest club on a collision course with this culture of racism.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Yes and that VAR official has now been taken off future fixtures and will not play a role in VAR next year: https://www.espn.com/soccer/story/_/id/37712358/spanish-fa-stand-var-official-vinicius-junior-red-card-sources
Is the suggestion here that the VAR officials deliberately decided what to show or not show based on race? That would be shocking if true, and definitely worth firing. Maybe incompetence alone is enough to fire them.

Still, I guess I can't get past the idea that the league is looking for scapegoats here and this gives the impression of action, when what they are really looking for is misdirection.
 

Kliq

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One of the interesting aspects of this situation is that Real Madrid - a club that in the past people have occasionally accused (fairly or unfairly) of shying away from having too many non-white players - has more black and brown players than ever before. They have rebuilt the side in recent years by adding Vini, Rodrygo, Tchouameni, Camavinga, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba, and Mendy. Endrick is on the way, Bellingham may be signed this summer, and Mbappe still seems like he'll end up there eventually.

I'm sure Florentino is just signing the best players and many happen to be non-white. But it really puts the country's biggest club on a collision course with this culture of racism.
The reality of the game is there are a lot more prominent Black players then ever before, and if you want to compete at the highest level, you can't be picky when it comes to race. More players are coming out of Africa, and the wave of African migration into Europe has put prominent Black prospects in highly-rated academies. Six of the Top Ten Most Valuable players according to Transfermarkt (Mbappe, Bellingham, Vini, Musaila, Saka and Osimhen) are Black.

And I'm sure there is a lot of racism coming from fans, especially in leagues like La Liga and Serie A, who are upset that the teams are becoming "too Black" just like people were in the US in the 70s in both the NBA and MLB.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The reality of the game is there are a lot more prominent Black players then ever before, and if you want to compete at the highest level, you can't be picky when it comes to race. More players are coming out of Africa, and the wave of African migration into Europe has put prominent Black prospects in highly-rated academies. Six of the Top Ten Most Valuable players according to Transfermarkt (Mbappe, Bellingham, Vini, Musaila, Saka and Osimhen) are Black.

And I'm sure there is a lot of racism coming from fans, especially in leagues like La Liga and Serie A, who are upset that the teams are becoming "too Black" just like people were in the US in the 70s in both the NBA and MLB.
Yup, agree completely. No club is going to compete at the top of the game without going for the most talented players and that's a more diverse group than ever before. All of which is fantastic for the sport and for European societies as well.
 

sdiaz1

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Apr 17, 2013
137
Not to assign Fiorentino altruistic reasons for his decision making but once he came back to the club as president one of the most important things he did was to ban Ultra Groups from the Bernebeu. Previously Real Madrid had some of most vile, loathsome and racist ultras but he all but castrated them but revoking their socio status.
 

trs

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Is the suggestion here that the VAR officials deliberately decided what to show or not show based on race? That would be shocking if true, and definitely worth firing. Maybe incompetence alone is enough to fire them.

Still, I guess I can't get past the idea that the league is looking for scapegoats here and this gives the impression of action, when what they are really looking for is misdirection.
While it may seem cynical to assume that La Liga is looking for misdirection here, it's not out of line. I do think that there is some element of scapegoating here, but really just for Vini getting sent off. The issue I guess is that the referee was never shown the lead-up to the strike to the face. Whether that has anything to do with his race, and one would hope not, it is certainly incompetence at best.

*edit -- apparently fired for showing "biased images" - https://www.managingmadrid.com/2023/5/23/23734020/valencia-real-madrid-var-2023-news-referee

*edit again - here's Marca on it (in Spanish): https://www.marca.com/futbol/primera-division/2023/05/23/646c8711e2704e014d8b45d8.html - it has the video Vini posted as well... pretty brutal, I had not seen it.
 
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rguilmar

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Phil Kitro is one of the hosts of the Spanish Football Podcast, and if you watch La Liga on ESPN+ you might recognize his voice as one of the solo announcers for games between smaller clubs. Anyways, he’s giving a summary of the daily sport newspapers in Spain from Monday and I think it highlights the depth of the problem. The media is either minimizing the event or outrightly blaming Vini Jr. for instigating everything. This generally reflects Spanish attitudes about what has been happening with Vini and informs us as to what people are reading that impacts their own beliefs. These papers are often closer to sports tabloids than actual news, but the summary by Kitro is pretty sobering.

View: https://twitter.com/sidlowe/status/1660979885207158785?s=46&t=XvGOrrWIyL-5CHVVL_0JYQ


The claim that Vini is somehow the instigator and at all to blame is laughable. The player himself posted a video- a video I feel uncomfortable posting here- on Twitter showing the consistent racial abuses he’s endured going back to that Derby, and included in the video is footage from Mestalla before the game where the chants had already started. Hard to think Vini somehow instigated that!

Also, Tebas isn’t going anywhere. He’s similar to Goodell, he has a particular job and most teams seem to like the job he’s doing. Perhaps the one thing that could change things is TV money. There is no secret to the financial advantages enjoyed by the EPL which in good part comes from lucrative television contracts. La Liga can never replicate that, but being a league in Spanish does have some advantages in large parts of the world and should result in decent TV contracts. To maximize that money though, perhaps La Liga needs to address the ultra culture in a similar way to how England has seemingly addressed hooliganism. I’m not saying it’s non-existent, just that it is less problematic now than it was in the past, and that the decline in hooliganism coincided with big money contracts for the EPL.
 

SocrManiac

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I can’t find any clear answer to what the instigation was. Outside of being an incredible young player, what was he doing?

Edit: It’s a fucking stretch, but are they saying simulation is justification for racism?
 

rguilmar

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I watch probably too much La Liga, though admittedly Real Madrid is low on my priority list and generally only watch them if they might lose. There has been no instigation by Vini Jr. Even for simulation it’s not that bad. He’s probably most “guilty” of Lebron-esque “Where’s the Call Ref” face whenever he loses the ball. He’s just a fantastic player who plays an aggressive style that fans think can get off his game. I see the most taunting anytime he tries something flashy that doesn’t come off. What people seem to not like is:

He’s really frickin good
He’s flashy
He’s Brazilian
He takes players on 1v1 often
He dances
He’s black

I think the fact that he responds to the abuse might make it worse because the fans get their “reward”- yeah! we got to him- ignoring that in my opinion Vini plays better when he’s pissed off. This red card won’t help though.

I wouldn’t criticize him one bit if he decided to leave Spain, but I hope Vini stays. I hope he scores and he dances. This issue is only being discussed because he’s fighting back. It’s been happening to him for a while, but taking the issue on has drawn attention to it. I’ll always root against Real Madrid but damn do I want him to succeed in Spain, and to do it his way.
 

rodderick

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The ultras stand at Mestalla is closed for five games. Vini will not serve a suspension. Valencia fined. The punishment was handed down by the RFEF which is the governing body of Spanish soccer, not La Liga.

I think this is the way to go.

View: https://twitter.com/tsf_podcast/status/1661127038479073284?s=46&t=XvGOrrWIyL-5CHVVL_0JYQ
I'd bet a very substantial amount of money the next time Vinicius visits the Mestalla the atmosphere will be vicious and there's a good chance he'll face racist chants again. This "punishment" is laughable. 45k? And closing a section of the stadium, as if Ultras won't attend games elsehwere? Lol. Valencia has already stated they'll appeal the decision as well. If these are the consequences for the most obvious high profile case, Spanish football will never be rid of this issue.
 

SocrManiac

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From the outside looking in, Valencia's appeal feels like an awful move. It's difficult to get any message other than "We defend our fans' right to be racist!" out of it.
 

PedroSpecialK

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I didn't think Peter Lim could get worse as an owner, but leaning into this shitshow to get supporters in his corner would certainly get him there
 

rodderick

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From the outside looking in, Valencia's appeal feels like an awful move. It's difficult to get any message other than "We defend our fans' right to be racist!" out of it.
Which to me is a sign the "punishment" already failed and nobody learned anything from it. I mean, if they're going to appeal something this soft, might as well bring the hammer down.