Spain’s PM condemns Atlético Madrid over Vinicius racism incident

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez condemned Atlético Madrid on Tuesday for not taking a stand against the racist chants from their supporters aimed at Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior.

pedro sanchez vinicius racism
The storm was sparked after Pedro Bravo, the head of the Spanish football agents association, said on television that Vinicius needed to stop 'acting the monkey' when dancing to celebrate goals. Photos: FRANCK FIFE, Raul ARBOLEDA/AFP

The club later released a statement saying the abuse was “unacceptable” and that they would will not stop until the culprits were found and banned.

Some sectors of the crowd chanted “You are a monkey, Vinicius, you are a monkey,” before and during Real Madrid’s 2-1 win at Atlético’s Metropolitano stadium on Sunday, while missiles including lighters were thrown at him and Brazilian compatriot Rodrygo as they celebrated a goal.

“I’m a big supporter of Atlético Madrid, so I was very sad,” Sánchez told Politico while at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“I expected a strong message from the clubs against this kind of behaviour, this is what I will ask of my team. I think its important that football clubs take this kind of behaviour seriously and react.”

La Liga will report the events to the Spanish Football Federation’s disciplinary committee but Atlético did not comment until Tuesday afternoon.

“Atlético Madrid condemns the unacceptable chants that a minority of fans sung outside the stadium before the derby,” said the club.

“A few cannot stain the image of thousands and thousands of Atlético fans who support their team with passion and respect for the opponent.”

“The pain the Rojiblanco family feels for what happened is enormous. We cannot allow our fan base be related with this type of behaviour and question our values because of a minority who do not represent us.

“Our decision is firm and clear, and we will not stop until they are kicked out of the Rojiblanco family, because they cannot be a part of it.”

The storm was sparked after Pedro Bravo, the head of the Spanish football agents association, said on television that Vinicius needed to stop ‘acting the monkey’ when dancing to celebrate goals.

Bravo apologised, saying he was using a phrase which was not intended to have racist connotations. The phrase is commonly used in Spain to mean ‘playing the fool’.

Madrid mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida, another Atlético supporter, has also criticised those chanting.

“They have no place, not just at a sporting event but in any sphere of life,” said Martinez-Almeida.

“I think what we have to do is identify these people because I don’t think they are worthy of coming in. It is absolutely reproachable and needs to be condemned.

“I say this both as the mayor of Madrid but also as an Atlético fan. I am ashamed that there are Atlético fans capable of uttering this type of racist insult.”

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How Spain’s far-right party is scapegoating unaccompanied minors in a bogus campaign poster

Spanish far-right party Vox has sparked controversy with a Madrid election campaign poster that falsely claims unaccompanied migrant minors receive 10 times more state aid than a pensioner.

How Spain's far-right party is scapegoating unaccompanied minors in a bogus campaign poster
Screenshot: Vox poster

The poster was installed at a commuter rail station in the heart of the Spanish capital ahead of regional elections in Madrid on May 4.

It features an old white-haired old woman with a sad expression beside a dark-skinned youth wearing a hooded top, his mouth covered with a bandana.

The poster claims that an unaccompanied migrant minor receives €4,700 ($5,650) per month, “your grandmother a pension of €426 per month”.

Vox, the third-largest party in Spain’s parliament, has made attacks against the arrival of unaccompanied migrant children to Spain one of the main themes of its campaign.

At rallies its leaders regularly link them to rapes and other crimes.

After receiving several complaints, including one from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s leftist government, the Madrid public prosecutor’s office has opened a probe into a possible hate crime.

Minister for Social Rights Ione Belarra said the poster was “an attack against the most vulnerable children of our country.”

“Democratic institutions can’t remain indifferent when confronted with this discrimation against youth and the spread of hate by the far right,” she tweeted.

The poster was also criticised by Catholic charity Caritas, Save the Children and Unicef, who asked in a joint statement that Madrid’s electoral board investigate if it broke the law.

In the face of this row, left-wing parties have stepped up pressure on the outgoing head of Madrid’s regional government, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, to ensure she does not enter into a pact with Vox if needed to stay on in power after the polls.

Ayuso’s conservative Popular Party lacked a majority in the outgoing Madrid regional parliament and relied on the backing of Vox to govern.

She has not ruled out a new pact with Vox but sought to distance herself from the controversy, saying Wednesday that the poster was “not true” and was “out of place”.