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Tebas Seeks More Legal Power To Fight Racism

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LaLiga President Javier Tebas has pleaded for more legal power to fight racism, an incident that has engulfed Spanish football over the continued abuse of Real Madrid and Brazilian star Vinícius Júnior.

Vinícius was racially abused during Real Madrid’s match against Valencia last weekend and the incident sparked global controversy.

Tebas stated this in a world press conference held on Thursday, May 25 where he made a public apology to Vinícius and spoke of plans to increase powers against racist offenders and acknowledged mistakes in not instigating change earlier.

“I think it’s better for things to calm down a little beforehand,” Tebas said. “I wouldn’t have a problem talking with him or with his agents whenever there is a timely moment. I’m convinced and I hope that Vinícius will stay in Spanish football.”

“The first thing I would say to him is that I am sorry I offended him, but that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t want to accuse him and I would explain to him everything that we do, all the time. I would explain to him that I am frustrated too, like he is frustrated. My frustration is probably even more as I know that we could have the powers and that we could [then] intervene.”

The football administrator recommended points deduction from clubs whose fans engage in racist behaviour, stating that it will help check fans’ behaviour.

“Would it be a good idea for us to start thinking about the system of docking points,” Tebas said of a measure adopted recently in Brazilian football.

“Yes certainly. I think that it would be very positive if it could be adopted here. I think that would be enough, with a view to the future. But with the current sanctions framework we have here we can’t apply it ourselves.”

Tebas claimed that if LaLiga was given increased powers racist abuse would end in months.

“We are convinced that within months racist abuse can be solved.”

The authority to levy sanctions against fans and clubs for racist behaviour lies in the scope of the legal system and a competitions committee composed of representatives of the Spanish Football Association, the government and LaLiga. Tebas has requested that LaLiga should have the right to act unilaterally, with the docking of points a sanction that would stand alongside the partial closure of stadiums, a punishment meted out to Valencia by the committee.

LaLiga made a formal request to change the laws this week, months after Vinícius first said that the competition was “doing nothing” to deal with racism.

Tebas acknowledged that he should have acted sooner. “That was probably a mistake of ours,” he said, “but we thought we were making progress in the courts when we made direct complaints. In the case of Mallorca and Vinícius [in February] this year, the two responsible for the insults have been sanctioned. It seemed we had been making progress and the state prosecutors were supporting us but we’ve seen that it is not enough. We need greater agility, we need more speed, we need to solve these problems more quickly.”

Tebas also acknowledged that LaLiga and Spanish football reputations had been hit as Brazil President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, condemned the treatment of Vinicius.

“If I weren’t concerned I’d be crazy,” Tebas said. “We will work to try and find a solution, to turn this image around because Spanish football is not racist. LaLiga has worked and will continue to work against this behaviour of xenophobic and racist comments in stadiums.”

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