Madrid prosecutor drops probe into racist abuse of Vinicius

Vinicius jr in action for Real Madrid. Picture: Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto

Vinicius jr in action for Real Madrid. Picture: Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto

Published Dec 2, 2022


Madrid — Spanish prosecutors said on Friday they had closed an investigation into racist chants by Atletico fans aimed at Real Madrid striker Vinicius jr in the Madrid derby in September.

Though the chants were “unpleasant, inappropriate and disrespectful”, they were in the context of “a football match at which the rivalry is most heated and alongside other insulting or mocking expressions”, the Madrid public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

“The chants were not repeated more than twice,” said the prosecutor’s office. “They lasted a few seconds.”

Vinicius is currently playing in the World Cup with Brazil.

According to the prosecutor’s statement, it had not been possible to identify those chanting.

There was “no specific act with which to charge a specific person”.

Spanish justice opened the investigation on September 23 following a complaint by an anti-racism association about the chanting at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium before and during the derby.

“You are a monkey, Vinicius, you are a monkey,” they could be heard chanting in footage recorded by Cope radio as the Real Madrid coach arrived at the stadium.

There was further chanting during the match, with Atletico fans throwing items, including lighters, at Vinicius and his Brazilian compatriot Rodrygo as they celebrated a goal. Real Madrid won 2-1.

Atletico had initially remained silent, prompting strong criticism from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, a fan of the club.

The club responded by condemning a few hours later “unacceptable chants” from a “minority of fans”.

The incidents in the derby came three days after Pedro Bravo, the head of the Spanish Football Agents’ Association, had provoked outrage among Brazilian players and from Real Madrid.

Bravo said on Spanish television that Vinicius was “acting like a monkey” when he danced in celebration of goals.