The Spanish League, “La Liga”, issued an official and long statement about the Vinicius Junior incident, in which it reviewed the moves it had taken throughout the past periods to combat racism in local competitions. Junior Real Madrid player in the Valencia match.
Spanish League statement
The statement came as follows:
La Liga has been fighting within its jurisdiction, leading the fight against violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in sport for years, as evidenced by the many initiatives implemented in recent years, in particular cases brought before the courts and before the State Commission against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sports.
The Legal, Integrity and Security departments of La Liga strongly condemn all types of violence that have taken place on or off professional football grounds over the past few seasons.
LaLiga’s goal is to completely eradicate violence in sport, and in order to achieve this, different prevention, detection and reporting practices are implemented at each round, which are then reported to the State Committee to Combat Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport, as well as to the Federation’s Competitions Committee. In the same way, LaLiga condemns and takes legal action in any criminal proceedings related to acts of violence that occur in the field of football.
In order to expedite the identification of any person or group of persons who engage in racist behavior inside or outside any stadium, LaLiga has created the e-mail [email protected]and the @StopRacismoLaLiga Telegram channel, so that fans can contact LaLiga and provide the necessary information to help submit relevant reports. In addition, a dedicated reporting system has been set up on the LaLiga website so that any fan can report racist behavior they observe inside and outside the stadium.
The powers of La Liga and the referral of the case
In Spain, Law No. 2007/19 of July 11 establishes the regulations in place to punish racist behavior against violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in sports.
Article 28 grants the power to impose sanctions by the government delegation, the Minister of State for Security, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Council of Ministers, without prejudice to the potential powers of the autonomous regions. La Liga’s powers are therefore legally limited to reporting facts and events, which it does.
In the case of possible sporting disciplinary measures, it is determined in the Disciplinary Code of the Spanish Football Federation which includes the offenses provided for in Article 34 et seq. of Law 2007/19, dated 11 July, with the Competitions Committee being responsible for imposing penalties. Therefore, the League can once again only report the facts, which it does.
With regard to the actions of referees during a match relating to conduct of this nature, LaLiga has no jurisdiction over such acts. This is the responsibility of the Spanish Football Federation, which is responsible for arbitration.
Racist behavior can be reported by clubs and the Spanish Football Federation (which sends representatives to all matches), and by LaLiga (which sends one or two match directors to all matches). As is well known, LaLiga reports every week on all potential acts of violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance that occur in LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank, the full scope of their competence under the current situation.
La Liga reports on racial insults
Since the establishment of the LaLiga Integrity and Security Department (2015/16 season), more than dozens of racist incidents/acts have been reported related to LaLiga matches. All cases have been investigated and/or reported to the relevant bodies and authorities.
Some of these actions occurred on the field between players/coaching staff. On these occasions, and with due respect to the actions of the referee on the field, LaLiga analyzes audio and digital files, as well as entrusts external expert reports with lip-reading analysis, in order to provide all this information to the bodies to which it reports.
In the case of racial insults by fans against players, in addition to reporting the facts to the aforementioned State Commission, since the 2018/19 season, LaLiga have taken these cases to the Hate Prosecutor’s Office. Recently, due to the fact that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had stopped some of LaLiga’s complaints, and due to the lack of uniformity in the reasons, LaLiga decided to submit complaints directly to the courts of first instance.
A summary of the cases and the current judicial situation
Iñaki Williams in Barcelona, January 25, 2020: during the Espanyol vs Athletic Bilbao match, which was held at the RCDI stadium. In the 69th minute of the match, as Iñaki Williams was leaving the stadium, several fans shouted racist slurs.
Currently, both LaLiga and the Public Prosecutor’s Office have already filed indictments against the person responsible, with LaLiga asking for two years’ imprisonment, a fine, special exclusion from engaging in any sport-related profession for more than 10 years, and a ban from entering the stadium for more than five years in addition to to the prison sentence imposed, after Court of First Instance No. 2 of Cornea de Llobregat had already ordered the commencement of the oral trial.
We are now awaiting a trial date.
Vinicius Jr. in Barcelona, 25 January 2020: In the case of Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr., LaLiga filed a complaint with the Barcelona Hate Prosecutor’s Office for the abuse he received during the Clásico at the Camp Nou on 24 October 2021. The LaLiga Prosecutor’s Office informed that the complaint had been dismissed. “Because the authorities were unable to identify the perpetrators of these acts.”
Vinicius Jr. in Mallorca, March 14, 2022: LaLiga lodged a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Balearic Islands accusing him of racist abuse against the player during the Real Madrid-Real Mallorca match on March 14, 2022 at the Son Moiches Stadium. In this case, the reason for the Public Prosecutor’s Office dismissing the case was that that “the expression and the sounds uttered, which are no doubt typical of loathsome and abhorrent situations, as well as being entirely offensive and reprehensible, did not at first show, in this case, the general criminal dimension which was alleged.”
Neco Williams in Seville, March 13, 2022: Meanwhile, Neco Williams, brother of Iñaki Williams and also a player of Athletic Bilbao, was subjected to racial abuse on March 13, 2022 at Benito Villamarín Stadium, during Real Betis’s match against Athletic Bilbao, which was also reported by before laliga. The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Seville also closed this case because “although no statement was made, from an examination of the defendant’s social media accounts, it appears that the defendant is not a person who intends to incite racism, or that the gestures made to that end are not. Considering criminal justice as a last resort leads us to consider that, while correct, it does not cross the line of criminal offense.”
Carlos Acapo in Granada, February 28, 2022: LaLiga acted in the same way in the case of Carlos Acapo, the then Cadiz player, who was also subjected to racist abuse at the Los Carmenes stadium during the match against Granada on February 28, 2022. On this occasion, it should be noted that Granada knows The fan who also voluntarily turned himself in to the police.
As a result of LaLiga’s report, the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Hate Crimes filed a complaint with the Court of First Instance in Granada. At the moment, the person responsible for the insults has testified before the Court of Orientation No. 2 of Granada, and Carlos Acapo will testify in the case in the near future.
Vinicius Junior in Madrid, September 18, 2022: There have also been reports of racial abuse against Vinicius Junior on September 18, 2022 inside and outside the Civitas Metropolitano, before and during the Atlético de Madrid-Real Madrid match. The U.S. Hate Crimes Attorney’s Office closed the case because “no concrete act attributed to a specific person and merely contextualizes insults of a racist nature does not constitute an offense against personal dignity concerned under Section 510.2a, StGB. This is on the grounds that it is unpleasant and unpleasant.” Appropriate and disrespectful, because it took place in the context of a very heated football match, with derogatory or other derogatory references to the sporting competition, besides the fact that it did not repeat the two actions described above and lasted only a few seconds.”
Vinicius Jr. vs Real Valladolid, December 30, 2022: In the case of insults directed at Vinicius Jr. at the Real Valladolid stadium, LaLiga lodged a complaint with the Anti-Violence Committee and the Competitions Committee of the Spanish Football Federation and before Court of First Instance No. 4 of Valladolid. Criminal proceedings began after a number of perpetrators were identified. Real Valladolid FC opened proceedings against 11 individuals identified in accordance with the application of its internal rules. At the legal level, La Liga is a party to the proceedings as a public prosecutor, and various court orders have been issued.
Vinicius Jr. in Madrid, January 26, 2023: LaLiga has lodged a complaint with the Court of First Instance No. 28 of Madrid after a banner and an effigy of Vinicius Jr appeared on Valdebebas Bridge ahead of Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey match against Atlético de Madrid. The judiciary is working to identify those responsible, and the Court of First Instance has declared that an investigation is ongoing in the case.
Vinicius Jr. in Mallorca, February 5, 2023: A complaint was filed after Vinicius Jr was mistreated by a fan in the stands of the Estadio Son Moiches, the case is accepted for processing and the proceedings open by the Court of First Instance No. 3 of Palma Mallorca.
The penalty proposed by the State Committee for Combating Violence is a fine of €4,000 and a 12-month ban from accessing sports venues.
After LaLiga and Real Mallorca identified the perpetrator of racist insults against Vinicius Junior in Mallorca (the same person responsible for the racist abuse during Real Mallorca’s Villarreal match against Samuel Chukwueze on February 18), a new report has been submitted in the Courts of First Instance of Palma de Mallorca. Specific fans have been banned by Real Mallorca.
On April 4, 2023, Vinicius Jr. testified in court, following La Liga’s communication.
Vinicius Junior in Pamplona, 18 February 2023: LaLiga reported racist chants against Vinicius Junior in the stands of the Osasuna Courts of First Instance in Pamplona in order to identify the perpetrator. The complaint was brought before the Court of Directive No. 4, which ordered various investigative measures.
Samuel Chukwueze in Mallorca, 18 February 2023: LaLiga has submitted a report after the perpetrators of racist insults against Samuel Chukwueze (18 February 2023) and Vinicius Jr (5 February 2023) have been identified. At LaLiga’s request, the court referred the matter to Enforcement Court No. 3 of Mallorca, which is investigating the facts relating to Vinicius Junior.
Vinicius Junior in Seville, March 5, 2023: Real Betis vs Real Madrid. LaLiga filed a complaint with the Courts of First Instance in Seville after discovering racist abuse against Vinicius Junior in one of the stadium stands. The record was submitted to the Execution Court No. 15 in Seville.
Vinicius Junior in Barcelona, March 19, 2023: Barcelona vs Real Madrid. LaLiga has lodged a complaint with the Barcelona Courts of First Instance accusing Vinicius Jr. of racist insults at the Camp Nou. The report was submitted to the Execution Court No. 13 of Barcelona. At the request of the court, LaLiga has since filed another report and paid the fee in order to be able to move forward with the case.
Other actions by La Liga and clubs in the fight against violence and racism
Player Handbook: Delivered at the start of each season to all players, either in physical form or via the exclusive Players App. It makes players aware of violence and racism and encourages them not only to follow values of respect, but also to report violent or racist behaviour.
Training days with the General Police Department: targeting security guards in football stadiums, including a presentation on hate crimes.
Fans’ Guide: In collaboration with the Federation of Supporters’ Clubs, practices that must represent the values of the sport are highlighted. They are distributed to stadiums at the start of each season.
Projects in cooperation with clubs: anti-racism and xenophobic messages on public address systems in stadiums, on video scoreboards and on their social media channels.
As a member of the State Committee against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport, LaLiga participates, encourages and supports all initiatives proposed to combat racist behavior in sport.
In the fight against violent groups, LaLiga has obtained notable convictions handed down by various regional courts, such as those of Asturias (No. 2022/18 of 18 April 2022 and No. 2022/6 of 11 February 2020), Madrid (No. 2019/324 of 6 May 2019, and No. 2019/194 of March 6, 2019), and Pontevedra (No. 2021/248 of June 21, 2021), and as a result, in addition to the imposition of prison sentences, fines, and bans on entry to stadiums for the offenders, in several cases the convicts were sentenced to imprisonment.
Finally, it should be noted that on December 30, 2022, the 23rd Criminal Court of Madrid sentenced 75 of the 82 defendants in the quarrel in which Francisco Javier Romero “Jimmy” Taboada died. Those prosecuted have been prosecuted thanks to the fact that LaLiga has repeatedly appealed back-to-back previous rulings that have limited prosecution to just over a dozen murder suspects.