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Brazil state approves ‘Vini Jr’s law’ against football racism

Legislators in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro approved a law on Tuesday to curtail football matches affected by racist abuse, after a wave of disgust over the treatment of Vinicius Junior.

The Real Madrid star, a native of the state, has been targeted multiple times by terrace racists over the past two years in Spain.

State deputy Prof. Josemar, who drafted the legislation, said the winger’s treatment “reinforced the need to create a policy to encourage respect, as well as a protocol to combat racism in stadiums.”

After it was unanimously approved by the legislative assembly, he tweeted that it was “an important step towards combating racism in football stadiums.”

The legislation — referred to by supporters as “Vini Jr’s law” — will be sent to the governor for approval.

The text provides that “in the event of a complaint or proven racist behavior,” matches will be temporarily stopped, or suspended if the incidents are repeated or are the work of a group.

Anyone can report a suspected racist act to the authorities, it says.

Born in Sao Goncalo, Rio de Janeiro state, Vinicius has developed into one of La Liga’s most devastating players since arriving from Flamengo in 2018 for 46 million euros ($50 million).

He boasts skill, rare dribbling ability and speed.

But he has also been repeatedly targeted by bigots. After abuse at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium in May, Vinicius said Spain now “belongs to racists”, and that the country is seen as racist in his homeland.

The latest incident triggered widespread criticism of Spanish football’s culture and authorities’ handling of discrimination.

In the city of Rio de Janeiro, the famed statue of Christ the Redeemer was left unilluminated last month to protest against the star’s treatment, while Brazil lodged a formal complaint with the Spanish ambassador.

Police in Spain said three people had been arrested over the abuse in Valencia.

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

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