MADRID-Spanish police arrested four men on Tuesday in connection with an incident in which an effigy representing Brazilian soccer star Vinicius Junior was suspended from a bridge in January, a days after a senior official said Spanish football has a racism problem.
A hate crime investigation has been opened after a dummy wearing the number 20 shirt of winger Vinicius Jr was hung from a bridge in front of the training ground of Real Madrid, the player’s team, along with winger Vinicius Jr. a 16-meter red and white banner, the colors of rival team Atletico Madrid, which reads “Madrid hates Real”.
The arrests come a day after the head of the football federation Luis Rubiales said Spanish football has a racism problem, following Real Madrid’s complaint of racial crimes.
After slurs targeted at Real Madrid players during Sunday’s Spanish league match, Vinicius Jr, in a social media post, called the racist behavior “inhumane” ” and demanded that sponsors and broadcasters hold LaLiga accountable.
Police said four men could be responsible for an alleged hate crime and three of them were active members of “a group of extreme supporters of a football club”. Madrid”. They said those three members had previously been identified during matches and qualified as “high risk” to help prevent violence in the sport.
LaLiga, the country’s top soccer league, is under pressure to do more to combat racism after the president of Brazil, FIFA and sports stars such as French striker Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton voice their support for Vinicius.
However, the organization said in a statement on Tuesday that “according to Spanish law, LaLiga can only detect and report, but not sanction, events that occurred”, and called on the authorities to Spain gives them “the power to sanction so that they can fight racism more effectively.”
“LaLiga is deeply disappointed by the lack of sanctions and convictions by the sports disciplinary bodies, public administrations and jurisdictions where complaints are made,” LaLiga said in a statement. they will submit a formal request to the sports law for an amendment.
Sanctions in Spanish football are handled by the Competition Commission of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
The dummy incident took place before Real’s match against Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey at the end of January.
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