Soccer-Bellingham urges greater efforts to tackle racism

  • Football
  • Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024

Soccer Football - Champions League - Real Madrid Press Conference - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - April 16, 2024 Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham says football authorities "need to do more" to tackle racism, a growing problem in the sport in Spain in recent years.

Bellingham said on Tuesday he had not realised the seriousness of the incidents in Spain's top league, with his teammate Vinicius Jr often the target of abuse.

"In the games where you go away in La Liga especially you get so used to it that I wasn't aware of the incident, which is a massive problem in itself," Bellingham told reporters ahead of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester City.

"It's a terrible way for a player to prepare for a game knowing that he is likely to be racially abused. It's disgusting. It shouldn't be happening.

"The people in charge need to take control. I doubt it will happen," he added.

Vinicius Jr, who broke down in tears last month when talking about the impact of racist insults, was again the target of abuse when Spanish media reported that Barcelona fans had shouted chants against the striker ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match against Paris St Germain.

Last season, La Liga reported 10 such incidents against the 23-year-old to prosecutors.

Mallorca are investigating after a fan apparently made a racist gesture towards Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni during the teams' league clash on Saturday.

"The game would miss players like Vini if he decided to take a break because of this," said Bellingham. "More needs to be done to support these players."

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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