Spanish justice opened an investigation on Monday, the day after new insults uttered against Vinicius, the Brazilian striker of Real Madrid, during a match in the Spanish football championship, again confronted with the scourge of racism in its stadiums. The parquet floor of Valencia (south-east), where the Brazilian star was insulted on Sunday during a league match lost by the merengue club against the local team (1-0), has, on its own initiative, opened investigations for an alleged “hate crime”, we learned from judicial sources. This criminal category includes racist insults.

In the report submitted as every week to the competent authorities, La Liga said Monday evening that it had identified “distinctly” racist insults and monkey cries. Spain’s Superior Sports Council (CSD) said it was analyzing the footage to identify “the perpetrators of these insults and behaviors to propose the appropriate sanctions”. The CSD also recalled that, for similar acts of racism, it has already proposed this season a 4,000 euro fine and a one-year stadium ban for the perpetrators. In front of the press, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, admitted that Spanish football had “a problem of racism”.

The Federation also called for the adoption of “more vigorous measures”, which could go as far as the closure of stands or even stadiums in the event of a repeat offense. For their part, Real Madrid and AFE, the main players’ union in Spain, have announced that they have filed a complaint with the prosecution. “Zero tolerance with racism in football”, abounded the president of the Spanish government Pedro Sanchez on Twitter, assuring that “hate and xenophobia must have no place in our football nor in our society”.

These words and actions are in addition to the many supports received by Vinicius, with the notable exception of the powerful and sulphurous boss of La Liga, Javier Tebas. Sunday at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, during the defeat of Real on behalf of the 35th day, the Merengue striker, regularly targeted, complained of being called a “monkey” by opposing supporters. “It wasn’t the first time, nor the second nor the third. Racism is normal in La Liga, “reacted on Instagram the Brazilian player, 22, excluded at the end of the game after a scuffle which saw his opponent escape a sanction.

Spain, he added, is “a beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which agreed to export to the world the image of a country of racists”. His words were not to the liking of Javier Tebas, who refuted any inaction on his part. “We cannot allow the image of a competition to be tarnished in this way, where more than 200 black (sic) players in 42 clubs receive the respect and affection of all fans every day, and where racism is an extremely punctual case (nine complaints) that we will eradicate”, detailed Tebas on Twitter.

La Liga have claimed to have submitted eight complaints this season for incidents suffered by Vinicius, but none have yet resulted in a sanction. The only measures taken came from clubs, such as Valladolid or Mallorca, which withdrew subscriptions for a fixed period from identified supporters. Insufficient, according to Carlo Ancelotti, the coach of Real. “What happened so far? Reports that came to nothing […] The solution is to stop the match, ”he reacted hotly on Sunday evening, before being joined by his counterpart Xavi on Monday.

Support for Vinicius came in particular from Brazil, where the president of the federation, Ednaldo Rodrigues, assured on social networks that Vinicius had “the love of all Brazilians”. Ronaldo, Neymar and Frenchman Kylian Mbappé also expressed their solidarity. The Brazilian government called the Spanish ambassador on Monday to express its “displeasure”. And in Rio de Janeiro, the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer turned off its lights for an hour on Monday evening “as a symbol of the collective fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and all those who suffer from prejudice in the world”.

“Black and towering,” Vinicius Junior tweeted, attaching a picture of the clouded Christ to his post. “He moves me. But above all I want to inspire and bring more light to our struggle,” he wrote. The Valencia club assured Monday that it had already identified a supporter who uttered racist insults on Sunday and was looking for others. The club promised that they would “ban identified supporters from the stadium for life”.