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Date set for Spain-Brazil anti-racism football friendly

Spain will host Brazil in an international football friendly at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium on March 26 to raise awareness of racism, the Spanish football federation said Monday.

The Spanish and Brazilian football federations announced plans for the match in June, a month after Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior, who is black, was racially abused by Valencia fans in an incident which provoked worldwide outrage.

The match will serve “to strengthen the commitment against violence and racism in football” with “a great celebration of football between two of the most powerful teams on the international scene,” the Spanish football federation said in a statement.

It will be Spain’s first game in 2024 and Brazil’s second under new coach Dorival Junior.

The Liga match at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium on May 21 was held up for several minutes during the second half after Vinicius, who has repeatedly been targeted with racial slurs in Spain, was abused again from the stands.

The referee wrote in his post-match report that shouts of “monkey” had been directed at the player.

Vinicius, 23, issued a strongly-worded statement after he was abused, saying: “Today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.”

Supporters found guilty of abusing Vinicius during the match have been slapped with stadium bans and fines by Spanish authorities.

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