Insulting chanting: Spain appears unable to face up to its problem



By Tony Attwood

There has recently been circulated a petition which calls on the government to make “chanting about tragedies and death at a football match a criminal offence”.  It got almost 18,000 signatories.

Now Real Madrid have complained to the Spanish Football Federation, claiming that the referee in their 4-2 win over Osasuna was  “negligent” for failing to include insulting chants by the crowd which were aimed at Vinícius Júnior in his match report.   They also note that the Real Madrid played Dani Carvajal pointed out to the referee that this chanting was going on.

However, it is possible that it could have been considered by the referee that Vinícius who scored two goals, spoiled his case somewhat by turning to the crowd after he had scored his second goal and cupping his ear.

Real Madrid has now issued a statement in which it claims, “Our club has filed a complaint with the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal Spanish Football Federation against match referee Juan Martinez Munuera, as a result of the negligent drafting of the referee’s report. The referee voluntarily and deliberately omitted the insults and humiliating chants repeatedly directed towards our player Vinícius Júnior, despite being warned insistently by our players at the same time that they were occurring.

“In addition, Real Madrid has also filed a complaint with the Royal Spanish Football Federation in relation to the aforementioned insults and humiliating chants, and forwarded them to the State Commission against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sports, so that those who were involved in such chanting are identified and punished.

“In light of the unfortunate events that occurred in El Sadar, Real Madrid has expanded the complaint that it presented last Friday, March 15, to the State Attorney General’s Office against crimes of hate and discrimination, for the racist and hateful insults directed towards our player Vinícius Júnior in the vicinity of the Olympic Stadium in Montjuic and the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, requesting that the perpetrators be identified.”

However, Osasuna is in their own statement denied that there was any racist chanting.

It is being reported that the chant against Vincius (if it occurred) included what I think most of us would consider the most appalling of racist chanting “which I am certainly not going to include here either in English or Spanish” has also been heard at games in which the player is involved.

This is not the first time this has happened.  In May last year Vinícius Júnior himself called La Liga racist after a game at Valencia.  In that case the player pointed out to the referee the fans who were using racist abuse but then he was later sent off by the referee after getting involved in what was described as an “altercation” with Valencia’s players.  He then posted on X the view that “Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition considers it normal, the federation considers it normal and the rivals encourage it.”

According to a report from Reuters last year the head of the Spanish football federation has admitted that Spanish football has a racism problem.  However this may not be the whole story because there are clear reports that the  La Liga President Javier Tebas, also took to X to say that enough was being done to deal with the problem and that Vinicius should inform himself “before you criticise and slander LaLiga”.

Following that, the Brazilian government summoned the Spanish ambassador to explain the incident, and its foreign ministry said in a statement that after “yet another inadmissible episode” it had concluded that effective measures had not been taken by the Spanish authorities to prevent such acts of racism.

Spain’s Sports Council then stated that would study footage of the game to single out any perpetrators for prosecution.  In response to that, videos posted which were then verified by Reuters, showed a large number of Valencia fans singing “Vinicius is a monkey” as the Real Madrid coach arrived at the stadium.

In response to that Vincius used X to say, “”I am sorry for those Spaniards who disagree but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists,”

My own view, for what it is worth, is that Valencia FC hardly helped matters by making a statement saying that it had identified one fan involved.

Since then there are reports that a mannequin in Vinicius’ shirt was strung up near the Real Madrid training ground in January.

One attempt to take the matter to court failed because the Spanish court ruled that calling a person a monkey a few times was not racist.  Thus with limited help from the courts, it is obviously up to the league to act which of course it could do by closing stadia.  The Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez went further saying, “You have to stop the match… One insult and everyone goes home.”

2 Replies to “Insulting chanting: Spain appears unable to face up to its problem”

  1. Exactly how many times do you have to call someone a monkey for the Spanish courts to consider it racism? It’s actually very true that la liga is a horrifically racist league. I remember Samuel Etoo walking off the pitch in tears due to racist chants aimed at him and Ronaldinho pulling him back from the touchline. It’s despicable behavior especially in this day and time.

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