Vinicius Jr: Micah Richards says Javier Tebas comments ‘make my blood boil’

Micah Richards says La Liga president Javier Tebas’ response to the racist abuse suffered by Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr “makes my blood boil”.

Vinicius has been the target of racist abuse multiple times this season and the latest incident has seen him receive support from the footballing world.

And there has been widespread condemnation of how the incident has been handled, including from the Brazilian government.

After the match, Vinicius and Tebas were involved in a row on Twitter, after the Brazilian said La Liga “belongs to racists” and “in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists”.

Tebas responded by saying Vinicius twice did not turn up for a meeting to discuss what it “can do in cases of racism”, adding: “Before you criticise and slander La Liga, you need to inform yourself properly.”

“Javier has tried to make himself the victim in all this, it’s absolutely embarrassing what he has come out with in his statement,” former Manchester City and England defender Richards told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club .

“It makes my blood boil and that is part of the problem. It’s not just a football issue, it’s a life that people go through every single day.”

Real have reported the abuse towards the 22-year-old to the Spanish prosecutor’s office as a hate crime. Spanish prosecutors will now decide whether to pursue a criminal investigation.

Police in Spain said on Tuesday they had detained four people suspected of hanging an effigy of Vinicius from a bridge in Madrid earlier this year.

On Monday the lights on the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro were switched off for an hour, in cooperation with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football.

The Archdiocesan Sanctuary, which manages the monument, said it “repudiates” the racism faced by Vinicius, adding: “The lighting of the monument will be switched off as a symbol of the collective fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and all those who suffer prejudice around the world.”

Vinicius said on Instagram: “Black and strong. May this image of a statue of Christ symbolise our struggle. Thanks so much for all the love. I will always be ready to fight for our ideals.”

The unlit Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janiero

‘What chance do we have?’

Richards said measures to try and curb racism in the game were “not working”.

“People don’t care enough and that is the problem,” he added. “If people cared they would do something about it.

“It’s not about taking the knee or wearing Kick it Out shirts because it’s not working. I’m tired of having to talk about the same things that happens over and over again.

“We have spoken enough. The people who need to sort themselves out are the ones who are being racist. Until harsher punishments are delivered it’s always going to be the same.

“If Javier thinks like that, what chance do we have?”

Fellow pundit and former Blackburn and Chelsea striker Chris Sutton called for Tebas to be removed from his position.

“When you have someone in such a powerful position, to have a Twitter spat with Vinicius Jr, to tell him he is wrong, it’s glaringly obvious to everyone there needs to be change in that position,” he said.

“That is a starting point.”

‘It’s not football, it’s inhuman’

In a new social media post on Monday, Vinicius listed the instances of abuse he has suffered this season and said they were not “isolated cases”.

“What is missing to criminalize these people? And punish the clubs sportively? Why don’t the sponsors charge La Liga? Don’t the televisions bother to broadcast this barbarity every weekend?” he said.

He added: “The problem is very serious, and press releases don’t work anymore. Neither does blaming me to justify criminal acts. It’s not football, it’s inhuman.”

Commenting on the post on Instagram, Burnley manager and former Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany wrote: “My heart is bleeding when I see these images.

“So much has already been endured by our fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers… and still the fight is not over. Our children will not grow up in a world where discrimination and hate prevails. They will know their worth and they will never bow down to those who chose to discriminate, separate and hate. Vinicius, You Are Not Alone. We stand together and we are stronger than ever.”

Abuse suffered by Vinicius Jr this season

September 2022 – Some Atletico Madrid fans sang racist songs toward Vinicius outside their Wanda Metropolitano stadium before Real Madrid played them in September 2022. Atletico Madrid later condemned “unacceptable” chants by a “minority” of fans.

September 2022 – some pundits in Spain criticise Vinicius’ goal celebration, in which he dances by corner flag. He responds by saying “the happiness of a black Brazilian in Europe” is behind the criticism.

December 2022 – Vinicius appeared to be subjected to racist abuse at Valladolid while he walked past fans after being substituted. La Liga said it has filed charges relating to the racist abuse of Vinicius to the “relevant judicial, administrative and sporting bodies”.

January 2023 – An effigy of the Real Madrid winger was hung from a bridge near the club’s training ground before a game against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey. Atletico said the incident was “repugnant”.

February 2023 – Mallorca fans were filmed allegedly racially abusing the Brazilian during a game against Real.

March 2023 – La Liga said “intolerable racist behaviour was once again observed against Vinicius” in a game against Barcelona and it had reported the racist insults to the Barcelona Court of Instruction.

May 2023 – Vinicius suffers racist abuse against Valencia.

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