(22 May 2023)
Hiroshima – 21 May 2023
1. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil
«First, I would like to start the press conference with a gesture of solidarity, to the Brazilian player (referring to Vinicius Junior), young, black, who plays at Real Madrid, who yesterday in a match in Valencia’s stadium, was strongly attacked, and was called a monkey. It is not possible that almost in the middle of the 21st century, we have racial prejudice gaining strength in several football stadiums in Europe. It is not fair that a poor boy who is winning in his life, becoming one of the best in the world, certainly the best at Real Madrid, is insulted in every stadium he goes to. I think it is important that FIFA, the Spanish League, and (football) leagues from other countries, take serious measures because we can’t allow that fascism and racism dominate inside a football stadium.»
++ENDS ON SOUNDBITE++
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has joined soccer clubs and players in coming out to support star striker Vinícius Júnior after he once more faced racist abuse in a Spanish league match on Sunday.
The latest incident took place in Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss at Valencia, a match that had to be temporarily stopped after the Brazil forward said he was insulted by a fan behind one of the goals at Mestalla Stadium.
Valencia fans were filmed making monkey chants toward Vinícius, who is Black.
Lula told a news conference in Japan on the sidelines of a G7 meeting that he hopes FIFA, the Spanish League and other soccer bodies “take measures so we don’t allow racism and fascism to take over” in the sport.
“It is not fair that a poor boy who is winning in his life, becoming one of the best in the world, certainly the best at Real Madrid, is insulted in every stadium he goes to,” Lula said.
Several of his cabinet ministers also backed Vinicius and were critical of the Spanish league.
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