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FIFA president offers support to Vinicius Jr after racism row

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Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior gestures towards a fan, May 21, 2023. REUTERS/Pablo Morano

Soccer governing body FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino expressed his support for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr after he called LaLiga and Spain “racist” after receiving racial slurs from fans in Sunday’s game at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium.

Vinicius Jr 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.

The Brazil international later took to Twitter to express his frustration, saying “racism is normal in LaLiga” and describing Spain as a “racist country”.

“Full solidarity to Vinicius. There is no place for racism in football or in society and FIFA stands by all players who have found themselves in such a situation,” Infantino said in a statement.

“Events during the match between Valencia and Real Madrid show that this needs to be the case. That is why the three-step process exists in FIFA competitions and it is recommended at all levels of football.

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“Firstly, you stop the match, you announce it. Secondly, the players leave the pitch and the speaker announces that if the attacks continue, the match will be suspended. The match restarts, and then, thirdly, if the attacks continue, the match will stop and the three points will go to the opponent.”

Infantino added that the steps to stop racism need to be supported through education.

Vincius Jr received a wave of support after the incident, including from Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti.

LaLiga has previously lodged complaints of racist chanting or insults against Vinicius Jr, the latest of which was a claim before a court in Mallorca after fans were filmed racially abusing the forward.

Spanish police are also investigating a possible hate crime against Vinicius Jr after a mannequin wearing his number 20 shirt was hung from a bridge outside Real Madrid’s training ground in January.

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-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Governing Bodies

CAF looking for hosts for CAF Awards, Women Champions League and youth tournaments

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After eventually fixing dates for Africa Cup of Nations 2025 and the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football still have major hurdles to scale.

The confederation is looking for hosts for the CAF Women’s Champions League, the U-17 and U-20 AFCON as well as the CAF Awards 2024. Morocco were the hosts for the last editions of the CAF Awards and Women’s Champions League. The confederation which opened the bids hopes to get possible responses by the time of the 46th CAF Ordinary General Assembly in Kinshasa, DR Congo on Thursday 10 October 2024.

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Governing Bodies

CAF Executive Committee to meet on Friday

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CAF President Motsepe Fails To Confirm Dates For 2025 AFCON -

Plunged with myriad of issues especially concerning regular fixtures of the Africa Cup of Nations 2025 as well as the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2024 both of which are to be held in Morocco, the  Confédération Africaine de Football CAF Executive Committee  will hold a virtual meeting on Friday.

It is expected that the congested fixtures occasioned by the women’s football event of the Paris 2024 Olympics as well as the enlarged FIFA Club World Cup 2025 will be discussed.

Till now,neither hosts nor period has been allocated for the Women’s Club Champions League which is supposed to be an annual event.

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Governing Bodies

Samuel Eto’o apologises and reinstates Cameroon coach Brys

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Former Cameroonian star forward and now football federation president Samuel Eto’o apologised Thursday to national team coach Marc Brys, with whom he had been involved in a heated exchange this week.

The ex-Barcelona striker also confirmed Brys would remain in his position after it was announced the Belgian was to be replaced as head coach of Cameroon on Wednesday.

“I apologise because during our first unfortunate meeting, there was a lot of emotion… but the Cameroonian people are more important than us, and it is for them that we must work,” said Eto’o at a press conference.

Eto’o was referring to an incident captured on video during his first meeting with Brys, which was widely shared on social media Tuesday.

The pair were seen to engage in a heated argument, before Brys left abruptly.

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“Your mission is not an easy one, despite your qualities and experience, but you should know that you will have our support,” added the two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner.

Brys was appointed to the role in April by Cameroon’s sport ministry, much to the astonishment of the country’s football federation (Fecafoot) and its president Eto’o wrote to the ministry to denounce its “illegal” appointment of the 62-year-old.

Fecafoot said it regretted not being involved “closely, nor remotely” in the selection process for the new coach and his staff.

Belgian Brys will now oversee Cameroon’s next two crucial matches in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, against Cape Verde on June 8 and Angola three days later.

-AFP

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