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Soccer-Brazil to play Spain at Santiago Bernabeu in anti-racism campaign


By Fernando Kallas

MADRID (Reuters) – Brazil will play a friendly match against Spain at the Bernabeu in March next year as part of an anti-racism campaign in support of Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr, the Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said on Tuesday.

Rubiales and his Brazilian FA (CBF) counterpart, Ednaldo Rodrigues, met in Madrid to launch their joint movement to combat racism under the slogan “One skin”.

The agreement follows the racist insults 22-year-old Vinicius suffered in a LaLiga match at Valencia in May, the 10th such incident against the player that LaLiga has reported to prosecutors this season.

“It is important to understand that harder punishment needs to be applied in cases of racism by the football authorities,” Rodrigues told a news conference.

“Fines are not enough. The clubs need to be held accountable too. CBF was the first football federation to adopt harder sanctions for cases of racism, such as the deduction of points in league standings, closure of stands or the lifetime expulsion of club members.

“We need to lead a campaign worldwide to fight against this virus that ashame everyone in football.”

Last month, the CBF also launched a national campaign against racism in Brazilian league matches with the slogan “There is no game with racism”.

Brazil, five-time world champions, are in the region for matches against Guinea in Barcelona on Saturday and Senegal in Lisbon three days later.

The CBF worked closely with Vinicius on the details surrounding the two friendlies as it wanted to be sure the player was comfortable with the matches being held in Iberia. The Real Madrid winger supported the idea, sources said.

“There is no place for racist insults in our football,” Rubiales said.

“It is intolerable that such events like what happened with Valencia take place in our country.

“I feel sorry because it doesn’t represent our country and who we are and tarnish our reputation worldwide. We have a problem with racism and have to fight.”

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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