(Reuters) – Valencia’s sponsors Puma offered their support for Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr after he was racially abused during their LaLiga match in Spain on Sunday.
Vinicius called LaLiga and Spain “racist” after receiving racial slurs from fans in Sunday’s game at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium.
The Brazil forward pointed out the fans who were insulting him, leading to the match being paused for 10 minutes, and then got into an altercation with Valencia’s players which led to him being sent off in the second half. Real lost the game 1-0.
“At PUMA, we do not tolerate racism, we condemn discrimination in any form and stand in solidarity with Vinicius Junior and the wider football community in condemning events yesterday,” Puma, who sponsor both Valencia and LaLiga, said in a statement to Reuters.
Spanish bank Santander, whose title sponsorship with LaLiga ends after this season, also voiced their support.
“Santander strongly rejects all racism and discrimination in whatever form it takes,” it said in a statement.
On Monday, the Spanish football federation’s chief Luis Rubiales said that Spanish soccer has a racism problem, echoing criticism by Brazil after Real Madrid lodged a race crime complaint.
The top-flight LaLiga is under pressure to do more to combat racism after the Brazilian president, FIFA and fellow sporting stars such as France forward Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton voiced support for Vinicius.
In a social media post, Vinicius called racist abuse “inhuman” and asked sponsors and broadcasters to hold LaLiga accountable.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru, Writing by Manasi Pathak; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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