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Vinicius Jr ‘can’t fight racism alone’ in Spain, says African keeper

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr “can’t fight racism alone” in Spain, according to a player who was banned after climbing into the stands to confront a supporter about alleged abuse.

Vinicius was among those who spoke out in support of Senegalese goalkeeper Cheikh Kane Sarr, who was sent off following the incident during a Spanish third-tier league game.

The Brazilian broke down in tears last month while discussing the toll racist abuse in Spanish stadiums has had on him.

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti says he has “never seen a player persecuted” like the 23-year-old.

“Vinicius is doing incredible work regarding racism in Spain. I want to thank him,” Sarr told Newsday on the BBC World Service.

“If every player like him took a stand, I’m not saying racism would stop but it’s going to be slowly erased. It would be less of a topic.

“He’s doing a remarkable job.”

Vinicius posted on social media in support of Sarr and his Rayo Majadahonda team-mates, who walked off the pitch in a show of solidarity during last month’s game against Sestao River, refusing to return.

“Racists must be exposed and matches cannot continue with them in the stands,” Vinicius said.

“We will only have victory when the racists leave the stadiums and go straight to jail, the place they deserve.”

Sarr was “grateful” to have the backing of a player who had 10 incidents of racial abuse against him reported to prosecutors by La Liga last season.

“He’s a generous man who knows what he wants,” Sarr, 23, said. “But one person can’t fight racism alone. He needs support.

“Racism has no place in the world and in the world of soccer.”

Sarr does not think Spanish football is serious about combatting racism, given how his case was handled.

Following the incident in Sestao on 30 March, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) handed him a two-match ban and a 600 euro ($645, £510) fine – a punishment Sarr says is “not fair”.

Rayo Majadahonda were given an automatic 3-0 defeat, deducted three points and fined 3,006 euros ($3,230, £2,575) for not completing the match.

“If you’re ready to fight sufficiently against racism, you have to protect [the victim] and give him power,” said Sarr.

“If you sanction him, you’re not defending the cause.

“You have to punish the other team or the person in the stand throwing racist abuse.

“If I was playing for Real Madrid, I don’t think I would have been punished. Yes, the [players] are better known, but the penalties should be the same.”

Sestao denied that there were any racist chants, external at the match, but the Basque club were also sanctioned by the RFEF with a stadium closure and a fine.


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