Four men detained in Spain over a suspected hate crime in the hanging of an effigy from a bridge depicting Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior have been released on bail, a Madrid court said on Thursday.
The men, who are also being investigated for an offence against Vinicius’ moral integrity, have been banned from approaching and communicating with the Madrid player pending further investigation, a court statement said.
The inquiry was opened after an inflatable Black effigy dressed in the No. 20 jersey of Vinicius was hung from a bridge in front of Madrid’s training ground before a Copa del Rey match against Atletico Madrid in January.
Alongside it was a large red and white banner — the colours of Atletico — that read “Madrid hates Real.”
Three of the arrested men were members of “a radical group of fans of a Madrid club” who were previously flagged during matches as “high risk,” according to police.
All four individuals will not be allowed within 1,000 metres of the Bernabeu and Civitas Metropolitano stadiums, nor any LaLiga stadium during football matches.
Vinicius was again subjected to racist abuse on Sunday during Madrid’s LaLiga match away to Valencia that led to the game being briefly paused, as well as sparking a global outcry of support for the forward.
After the match, he hit out at Spain and LaLiga for not doing enough to fight racism, which drew a reply on Twitter from LaLiga president Javier Tebas who disagreed.
On Wednesday, Tebas apologised for his remarks, telling ESPN Brasil that his message was misinterpreted.