La Liga president Javier Tebas apologises for Twitter ‘attack’ on Vinicius

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La Liga president Javier Tebas says he did not mean to “attack” Vinicius Jr on social media after the Real Madrid player was racially abused by opposition fans at Valencia on Sunday.

Vinicius and Tebas were involved in Twitter row after the forward said the Spanish league “belongs to racists”.

“I didn’t mean to attack Vinicius, but if people understood it that way I have to apologise,” Tebas told ESPN Brazil.

“That was not my intention, far from it. I was trying to clarify a situation and explain it.”

Writing on social media after the match, Vinicius said that “the championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists” and “in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists”.

Tebas said Vinicius twice did not turn up for a meeting to discuss what it “can do in cases of racism”.

“Before you criticise and slander La Liga, you need to inform yourself properly,” Tebas said.

Vinicius criticised the post for targeting him instead of racists, saying he wanted La Liga to take “actions and punishments”.

Tebas replied: “Neither Spain nor La Liga are racist, it is very unfair to say that.” He went on to outline the actions La Liga had taken against racism this season.

La Liga has since said it will request “more sanctioning powers” so it can punish incidents of racism.

What has happened?

Sunday’s game was paused in the second half as an incensed Vinicius reported opposition fans to the referee.

Real have reported the abuse to the Spanish prosecutor’s office as a hate crime.

On Tuesday, the Spanish Football Federation announced Valencia had been sanctioned with a partial stadium closure for five matches following the incident and fined 45,000 euros (£39,000).

The club called the decision to partially close their stadium “disproportionate, unjust and unprecedented” and said they intend to appeal against that part of the sanction.

Spanish police have also detained three people in connection with the abuse directed at the Brazilian at Mestalla Stadium on Sunday.

Vinicius’ was sent off late in the 1-0 defeat but his red card has been rescinded, meaning he will not have to serve a suspension. However he is injured and will miss Real’s home game against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.

The player has been the target of racist abuse multiple times this season.


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