Spanish authorities have arrested four individuals on Tuesday in connection with an incident that occurred earlier this year in which an effigy representing Brazilian football star Vinicius Jr was hung from a bridge.
The disturbing act occurred just a day after a senior official Luis Rubiales, highlighted the issue of racism in Spanish football.
Following the incident, a hate crime investigation was launched, triggered by the presence of the effigy wearing Vinicius Jr's No. 20 shirt hanging from a bridge near Real Madrid's training ground in January 2023, days before Rojiblancos hosted Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey quarterfinal.
Accompanying the effigy was a 16-meter banner in red and white, the colours associated with rival team Atletico Madrid, with the words "Madrid hates Real" prominently displayed.
The recent arrests come on the heels of Real Madrid lodging a race-crime complaint. The arrests signify a significant step towards addressing the issue and holding those responsible accountable.
According to the police, the four detained individuals may face charges related to a hate crime. Notably, three of them are active members of a "radical group of fans of a Madrid club" and have previously been identified during matches as "high-risk" individuals in efforts to prevent violence in sports.
The incident has sparked widespread outrage and calls for increased measures to combat racism in Spanish football. Prominent figures such as the Brazilian president, FIFA, and renowned sports personalities like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr, Rio Ferdinand, and Lewis Hamilton have voiced their support for Vinicius Jr and urged LaLiga to take more decisive action against racism.