On Tuesday, police in Madrid arrested four more men suspected of hanging an effigy of Brazilian footballer Vinicius Junior from a bridge during last weekend’s game between Real Madrid and Valencia. The incident has sparked outrage among football fans and authorities alike, with both clubs condemning the act of racism and violence.
The game was held up for several minutes on Sunday when the referee heard shouts of “monkey” being directed at Vinicius. Three individuals were arrested and Valencia confirmed they would forever be banned from their stadium.
The four suspects arrested on Tuesday are understood to have been involved in hanging the effigy wearing a Real Madrid shirt with Vinicius’ number. The effigy had been hung from a bridge near the Santiago Bernabeu stadium where the game was taking place.
The incident has sparked indignation amongst football fans and authorities, with both clubs strongly condemning racism and violence. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted: “We must be firm in standing against any expression of racism, xenophobia and discrimination. The Spanish government is resolute in its commitment against racism.”
Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez issued a statement saying the incident “has no place in any sporting event” and that he was “deeply concerned by the racism aimed at our player Vinicius Junior”. He went on to say that Real Madrid “will do everything in our power to eradicate these acts of violence from our sport.”
Police are still investigating the incident and have not ruled out making further arrests. The Spanish Football Federation has also said it will open an investigation into the matter, with sanctions likely to be imposed if any club or fan is found guilty.
No matter the outcome of the investigation, it is clear that football authorities and clubs must take strong action against racism in sports if they are to tackle this scourge. This latest incident shows us that more work needs to be done, both in terms of education and anti-racist initiatives, if real progress is going to be made.