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Spain, Brazil to play anti-racism friendly in Madrid after Vinicius abuse

Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP

The Spanish and Brazilian football federations presented their plan on Tuesday for a friendly match at the Santiago Bernabeu in March 2024 to combat racism, after global outrage at the abuse of Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior. 

The Brazil winger, 22, suffered racial abuse by Valencia supporters in May, provoking worldwide outrage after he squared off with fans in one stand.

Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales and his Brazilian counterpart Ednaldo Rodrigues revealed their plans for the game at Madrid’s stadium, alongside Spain internationals Ansu Fati and Rodrigo Moreno.

“I want to announce that the match against racism between Spain and Brazil will be at the Santiago Bernabeu,” Rubiales told a news conference.

“It’s the ideal stage for an encounter between two of the best teams in the world.”

Rubiales also said the match taking place in March depended on Spain qualifying directly for Euro 2024, as those dates would be potentially needed for play-offs if not.

“(The game is) a way of saying ‘enough’,” said Rodrigues.

“It protects joy in our football, (and shows) this intolerance and attitude are unacceptable.”

Vinicius issued a strongly-worded statement after he was abused, saying: “Today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.”

Leeds forward Rodrigo, born in Brazil, was happy about the arrangements for the match, given the slogan “The Same Skin”.

“I think it’s a great initiative on the part of both federations,” said Rodrigo.

“It’s very important to use the power of football to denounce and fight against discrimination.” 

Earlier in June 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, a native of the state.

Supporters found guilty of abusing Vinicius were issued stadium bans and fines by Spanish authorities last week.

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