MADRID (Reuters) – LaLiga President Javier Tebas apologized on Wednesday for his online rant at Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian had taken to social media to complain about racist comments he received during a game and the Spanish league’s lack of action.
LaLiga chief Tebas apologizes for Vinicius’s racism allegation rant
On Sunday, the game against Valencia was stopped for 10 minutes because the Brazilian Vinicius called out the fans who were insulting him. He then got into a fight with Valencia players, which got him sent off.
In an interview with Reuters, Tebas said, “Well, it doesn’t look like the result was very good, does it?” He was referring to his much-criticized tweets, in which he told Vinicius to learn more about what the league is doing to fight racism “before you criticize and slander LaLiga.”
“I mean, to everyone who realized this was a mistake because of the way it was said and the time, I have to apologize,” he said, adding that he didn’t mean to attack Vinicius and blamed “the heat of the moment.” “I’m sorry to Vinicius and to anyone who thought I was trying to hurt Vinicius.”
Tebas said he understood how upset the 22-year-old was that nothing was being done to stop racism in Spain. He pointed the finger at soccer organizers and the Spanish government, saying neither was doing enough to stop racism.
He said that he felt “powerless” to stop racism in soccer because, by Spanish law, LaLiga can only find racist events and report them. He wanted the law to be changed so that LaLiga could have more power to stop racist behavior, like shutting down stands or kicking out club members.
“If we had those powers, we could end this in a few months,” Tebas said, but “those who have the power to make it happen” aren’t ready to do so.
After what happened to Vinicius, Valencia’s south stand will be partly closed for five games, and the club was fined 45,000 euros ($50,000).
Tebas says that the racism against Vinicius in Valencia on Sunday was the 10th time this season that LaLiga reported it to judges. He says he has done everything he can to solve the problem. On Tuesday, seven men were arrested for allegedly committing hate crimes against Vinicius.