La Liga to report ‘lamentable racist chants’ aimed at Vinicius Júnior before Atletico’s UCL match

Video on social media showed a small group of Atletico fans jumping and chanting “Vinicius chimpanzee” before the team played Inter Milan on Wednesday in the round of 16 of the European competition.

Published : Mar 14, 2024 19:08 IST , MADRID - 3 MINS READ

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior.
Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The La Liga will report what it called “lamentable racist chants” aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior before Atletico Madrid’s Champions League game.

Video on social media showed a small group of Atletico fans jumping and chanting “Vinicius chimpanzee” before the team played Inter Milan on Wednesday in the round of 16 of the European competition.

The video in which fans add “Vinicius chimpanzee” to one of their traditional songs was initially published by the site Agente Libre Digital.

The Spanish league said on Thursday it will report the incident to the Hate Crimes Prosecutor’s Office. It said it would act even though the chants happened in a different competition and outside a stadium.

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The league said it was “deeply committed to ensuring that football is a hate-free space and will continue to relentlessly pursue any acts of racism, homophobia, violence, hatred . . . regardless of the competition.”

There were also reports of hate chants against Vinicius before the Barcelona-Napoli match in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Cadena SER published a video in which Barcelona fans chanted “Die, Vinicius,” before the team’s 3-1 win at Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium in Montjuic. Similar chants had already been made against the Madrid player in other matches against Barcelona.

Vinicius has been subjected to insults since he came to play in Spain six years ago.

Atletico fans chanted “Vinícius, you are a monkey” in 2022 outside Metropolitano Stadium. Spanish state prosecutors at the time closed a probe into the case citing the impossibility to identify the perpetrators.

In 2023, Atletico fans hanged Vinicius’ effigy from a bridge in Madrid before a city derby in the Copa del Rey. Prosecutors sought four-year prison sentences for the four hardcore fans accused by authorities.

The abuse aimed at him by Valencia fans in a league game at Mestalla Stadium last year prompted an outpouring of support for the Brazil forward and made Spanish authorities take action to boost the fight against racism in football and society in general.

But there were more reports of racist abuse aimed at Vinicius in his return to Mestalla this month when Brazilian media said a child in the stadium called the player a monkey.

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Video of the incident was published online, but it wasn’t clear from the images if there was an insult against Vinícius.

The Spanish league said it could not immediately comment on the case for legal reasons as it potentially involved a minor.

After his first goal in the 2-2 draw against Valencia on March 3, Vinicius held up his fist toward the Valencia fans behind the goal. After his equaliser, he cupped his ears as if asking for more from the fans who jeered him.

Spain and Brazil will play a friendly at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on March 26 to highlight the countries’ fight against racism.

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