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Racism in Spanish football: arrests over Vinicius doll


Police in Spain have arrested four people after investigating a hanging doll in the jersey of Real Madrid footballer Vinicius Junior. Previously there had been racist hostilities against the Brazilian.

After another racism scandal in Spain involving footballer Vinicius Junior, the Spanish police arrested four young people. They are said to have hung a brown inflatable doll wearing a shirt worn by Brazil international Vinicius Junior on a bridge in Madrid. The 22-year-old is under contract with the top club Real Madrid and is repeatedly racially insulted in stadiums.

According to media reports, those arrested are said to be fans of city rivals Atlético Madrid. The doll was discovered shortly before a city derby in late January. A large banner reading “Madrid hates Real” was also attached to the railing of the bridge. Police said those arrested were charged with hate crimes.

Eighth incident of xenophobia against Vinicius

Racist insults against Vinicius have been repeated over the past few months. Most recently, the Brazilian international was again racially insulted by spectators at FC Valencia last Sunday. Against Vinicius alone, it was the eighth documented incident of xenophobia this season. The striker accused the league and the Spanish Football Federation of considering racism “normal”.

Vinicius and league president Javier Tebas then had a private argument on Twitter. First, Tebas reacted to Vinicius’ statements: Before Vinicius criticizes and slanders, he must inform himself properly, so Tebas. He accused the 22-year-old of not having appeared at any appointment with the league to talk about the racism incidents.

Vinicius sharply attacked the President and called for action. Tebas replied: “One cannot allow the image of a competition to be damaged, which is above all a symbol of unity between peoples”. He also cited steps the league is already taking to combat racism.


The Spanish league wants to investigate the current incident: “If a hate crime is identified, La Liga will take appropriate legal action,” it said in a statement. Real Madrid was apparently not enough: in a club statement, the club sharply condemned the incidents and filed a complaint with the public prosecutor for hate crimes and discrimination. This has already started investigations.

As early as September 2022, Atlético fans made negative headlines at the derby in the league. Footage shows supporters shouting racist chants at Real’s Brazilian. However, in December the public prosecutor’s office dropped the investigation because it was not possible to identify the culprits.