Brazil: Rio de Janeiro Approves ‘Vini Jr’s Law’ Against Football Racism

Legislators in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, passed a law on Tuesday aimed at addressing racist abuse during football matches, following widespread outrage over the mistreatment of Vinicius Junior, a prominent player for Real Madrid and a native of the state. Over the past two years, Vinicius has been subjected to racial slurs from fans in Spain on multiple occasions.

The legislation, known informally as “Vini Jr’s law,” was drafted by State Deputy Prof. Josemar, who emphasized that the mistreatment of the winger highlighted the urgent need for a policy promoting respect and a protocol for combating racism in stadiums. After receiving unanimous approval from the legislative assembly, Josemar tweeted that this was a crucial milestone in the fight against racism in football stadiums. The law now awaits approval from the governor.

According to the text of the law, in cases of reported or proven racist behavior, football matches will be temporarily halted and potentially suspended if the incidents persist or involve a group of individuals. The legislation allows anyone to report suspected racist acts to the authorities.

Vinicius, born in Sao Goncalo, Rio de Janeiro, has established himself as one of La Liga’s most formidable players since his transfer from Flamengo in 2018 for 46 million euros ($50 million). He possesses exceptional skills, rare dribbling ability, and impressive speed. Unfortunately, he has repeatedly become the target of bigoted individuals. Following an incident of abuse at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium in May, Vinicius expressed his belief that Spain is now synonymous with racism and viewed as such in his home country.

The recent episode sparked widespread criticism of the culture in Spanish football and the authorities’ handling of discrimination. In Rio de Janeiro, the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer remained unilluminated last month as a symbolic protest against Vinicius’ mistreatment, and Brazil officially lodged a complaint with the Spanish ambassador. Spanish police announced the arrest of three individuals in connection with the abuse at Valencia.

Furthermore, in the capital city, four fans of Real Madrid’s rivals, Atletico Madrid, were arrested after hanging an effigy of Vinicius from a bridge.

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