Rio government names anti-racism bill ‘Vini Jr law’

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The Rio de Janeiro government named an anti-racism law after Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior on Wednesday which will see sporting events stopped or suspended in the event of racist conduct.

Brazil forward Vinicius was racially abused by fans when Madrid played Valencia in May, the 10th such incident involving the 22-year-old that LaLiga has reported to prosecutors that season.

Local media said the law was inspired by the player’s response to the incident at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium, where the game was paused for several minutes while the player pointed at those racially abusing him in the stands.

The “Vini Jr law,” unanimously approved by the Rio government in June, includes protocol on how to process complaints of racism and mandatory educational campaigns.

“Today is a very special day and I hope my family is very proud,” said Vinicius during a ceremony at the Maracana Stadium, where he made his senior debut for Flamengo in 2017.

“I am very young and I didn’t expect that I would be receiving this tribute.”

Vinicius also received awards from Rio’s legislative assembly and city council and his footprints were added to the stadium’s Walk of Fame beside those of Brazilian greats such as Pele, Garrincha and Ronaldo.

“Sometimes I wonder if I deserve so much,” he said. “I didn’t expect so many awards and to receive all this affection at the Maracana, where I attended and played so many Flamengo matches.”

Rio de Janeiro’s Secretary for Sports Rafael Picciani said it was an honour to pay tribute to “an idol of Brazilian football, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro.”

“In addition to all his football career achievements, Vinicius has also become a symbol of the fight against racism.”

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