Spanish football’s inaction on Vinicius Jr racist abuse could prove costly for La Liga

Vinicius Jr No one is talking about ‘fair play’ this week after the disgraceful racist abuse of Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior.

After Vinicius’ 10th racist abuse during a La Liga game since 2021, this time in Valencia on Sunday, Spanish football and the country’s legal system finally kicked into gear.

On Tuesday alone, police arrested seven people, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) launched a new anti-racism campaign and ordered the partial closure of Valencia’s stadium, and asked La Liga to formally grant anti-racism sanctioning powers.

La Liga told CNN it has no authority to fine clubs or fans. Instead, he must hand over investigations into incidents of racist abuse to local prosecutors, who treat them as legal cases.

But what is the reason for this sudden activity after the incident? 10 When the previous nine cases of racial abuse were clearly insufficient for meaningful action?

According to one former marketing executive, the answer is money and fame.


Vinícius Jr.


Vinicius Jr For the first time, Vinicius – one of the world’s most talented and acclaimed players – hinted that his future may not be with the Iberian nation, while Spanish media suggested the incidents would hamper Spain’s joint bid for the 2030 World Cup – with Portugal, Morocco, and Ukraine – an event that could be worth billions of dollars to the country.

Ricardo Forte, former head of global sponsorship at Visa and Coca-Cola, said brands that signed sponsorship deals with La Liga could even start renegotiating those deals.

“If sponsors are doing their job, they should have their PR teams monitor how engaged they are in the conversation or how often their brands are mentioned on social media and in the press,” Forte told CNN Sport.

“They probably have a statement that they think they need to make, but they’re probably holding it back to use it only if it’s really, really necessary. Everyone’s trying to avoid getting into a conversation that’s related to the issue. They don’t

“They called people behind the scenes to sort out their relationship in La Liga, give them updates, and understand what their plans are. Some CEOs may question their marketing team if this is something that is sustainable or if they should be associated with La Liga.”


Vinicius Jr


Vinicius Jr “You’ve got reporters calling for a statement, you’ve got investor relations, so big stockholders in all these companies are asking questions,” Forte said.

“You have board members asking the CEO what the company is going to do, you have — as the case may be — employees saying, ‘Why are we associated with this?'”

At a meeting with his sponsors in Zurich, Forte said FIFA plans to establish an independent ethics commission. But when the CEOs of Fifa’s sponsors were unhappy with the plan, they called then-president Sepp Blatter and demanded a change of leadership.

“I know that the CEO of Coca-Cola at the time, Muhtar Kent, called Sepp Blatter and said, ‘September, it’s time to go,'” Forte recalled. “Some CEOs may do this if there is no solution on the horizon.

“There has been a loss of confidence in La Liga’s ability to manage the crisis and find solutions,” added Forte. “Now, if I were a patron, I would demand a change in leadership, and that starts with the president.”

Earlier this week, RFEF chief Luis Rubiales criticized La Liga president Javier Tebas, who clashed with Vinicius on Twitter after Sunday’s game.

“Managers are not here to engage in social media, we are here to try to solve a problem – and this footballer was attacked very seriously,” Rubiales said.

“I don’t think Javier Tebas is ready, equipped, or interested in solving the problem,” Forte added.


 Vinícius Jr.

Vinicius Jr The incident took a diplomatic turn at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium on Sunday when Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and other government officials intervened.

Brazil’s Racial Equality Minister Aniel Franco said on Monday that he had already called Spain’s Attorney General and the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister to look into the investigation, while Brazil’s Justice Minister Flavio Dino tweeted about the possibility of “extrajudicial hegemony” – Brazil’s use of Spanish law – if the Spanish authorities annul Vinicius. not protect

The incident even drew comments from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk, who said the incident at the Mestalla stadium was a “stark reminder of the prevalence of racism in sport”.

“I urge those who organize sporting events to adopt strategies to prevent and fight racism,” he added.

A spokesman for the US State Department also condemned the racist insults against Vinicius, calling them “appalling”.

Forte estimates that many of La Liga’s sponsorship deals can be between $5 million and $10 million per season; A “significant” amount, he said, but certainly not a “significant” financial impact due to La Liga’s revenue.

According to Reuters, La Liga expects the total value of its business to grow from $26 billion to about $38 billion in seven to 10 years.

What could “really hurt” La Liga is the further impact on its reputation, which would worsen if sponsors canceled their contracts with the league, according to Forte.

Vinicius Jr “If a recognized brand drops out because it doesn’t believe in La Liga’s commitment to fighting racism, I think that will have consequences for them the next time they sign a broadcast or sponsorship deal,” Forte said.


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