‘Spanish football is not racist’ says LaLiga top hat – 05/25/2023 – Sport
With the aim of accountability, the president of LaLiga, the entity that organizes the Spanish Championship, Javier Tebas, said that the entity does a lot to fight racism, praised Vinicius Junior and criticized the country’s judiciary. He did all this to defend himself against accusations of racism.
“Spanish football is not racist. Spain is not racist,” he said. Shortly after, he claimed never to have committed acts of racial discrimination in his life.
“I have been accused of being racist and I don’t like it. I am very affected by it. I was never racist,” he added.
In recent days, Tebas has started a media blitz to explain LaLiga’s actions after the racial insults received by Vinicius Junior and practiced by Valencia fans last Sunday (21), in a match against Real Madrid.
The director confessed his concern with the image of the tournament, accused of being complacent with racist acts and having only acted when sponsorships began to be threatened.
“Of course I’m worried [com a imagem]. If he wasn’t, he’d be out of his mind. We will work to resolve this image. I’m worried and we have work to do. In life, sometimes we get hit.”
At various times, Tebas praised Vinicius Junior, said that the striker will win the Ballon d’Or [prêmio da revista France Football para o melhor jogador da temporada] in the future and that I would have no problem talking to him personally.
The athlete complained about being insulted and called a “monkey” during the game between Real and Valencia, which was interrupted by the arbitration last Sunday (21). These attacks led the Public Prosecutor’s Office to open an investigation into “hate crime”, a criminal category that, in Spain, includes racial crimes.
It is the 10th time that the Brazilian has suffered racial attacks in the last two years. Seven people were arrested by Spanish police. Three of them related to offenses in Valencia. After deposition or payment of bail, all were released.
After the incident, Tebas responded on Twitter to the Brazilian, insinuating that he was being manipulated and seeming to downplay the episode. Vinicius went on the attack, contested the manager, posted videos and messages reinforcing cases of racism in Spanish football. Thebes apologized.
The top hat swears he only tried to present facts to the player, but recognizes that he may have given the wrong impression. He compared the racial slurs received by the Brazilian to homophobic slurs directed at Cristiano Ronaldo and others about Lionel Messi’s alleged autism when both were playing in Spain.
“I didn’t mean to criticize him. I wanted to give information. We are doing a lot of things. I understand that Vinicius is frustrated. We are very aware, very focused. He is receiving insults because he is a great player. The great players, Messi, Cristina Ronaldo, are the ones most insulted. It’s part of the human malice to insult. If he’s not a star player, maybe he’s not the same thing. They get angry to see Vinicius’ brilliant plays”, he opined.
“I remember [o lateral] Roberto Carlos [sendo ofendido racialmente], with the stadium full… Cristiano Ronaldo and the cries of homophobia. Messi being called by cries of intellectually disabled…”
Before starting the interview, the top hat made a long statement to explain everything the league has done to combat discrimination in football. He even said that a prosecutor, in theory responsible for investigating cases of racism, would have said it was just a sporting rivalry when Atlético de Madrid fans shouted “monkeys” at black Real Madrid players.
“That made me very uncomfortable. Maybe it’s better for us to forget about the Attorney General’s Office”, he said.
The judiciary was the main target of Thebes. According to him, prosecutors did nothing in several cases denounced by LaLiga itself. Cases recorded on video in the stands that Vinicius Junior would not even have heard because he was on the field.
Tebas attacked the Attorney General’s Office with the aim of reinforcing what became one of the entity’s goals in the days after the insults received by the Brazilian: that the organization of the championship has the power to apply sanctions to clubs, players and fans in cases of racism. Something that, according to him, would be the prerogative of Justice or the Royal Spanish Federation.
The president cited the case of Iñaki Williams, a black Ghanaian striker for Athletic Bilbao, in which the punishment of those responsible for racist offenses against him took more than three years.
“I’m not going to talk about the campaigns we’ve done against racism, against discrimination. We’re going to continue with that and work for convictions and for people to end up in jail. We want to prove, we’re sure that we’re going to be able to solve this problem. it is something within the sporting reality, then it is very difficult to end the insults [raciais]”, he complained.
Tebas says it’s time to start thinking about taking points from clubs whose fans commit racism.
“The sanction of taking away points does not exist for sporting conduct, as it does in the Premier League. In Spain, by law it says that you cannot do that. Would it be good for us to start thinking about points? I think so.”
He asked for a period of six months to come close to solving this problem. But he hit the key several times that LaLiga needs to have more powers to act, an essential condition to meet that deadline.
“These are my worst days as president. I am not racist,” he concluded.