Glasgow Football League shows solidarity with Vinicius Jr

The Scottish Unity Football League (SUFL) was formed in 2000 to ‘challenge racism and sectarianism’ and ‘bring the people of the city closer together’ – and has been doing both with some success ever since.

SUFL has a strong connection with Brazil – they play in the Vasco da Gama Cup each year in honor of the club that helped create a more inclusive sporting culture in the South American country by refusing to honor a ban on black footballers in the 1920s .

Their coaches and players were appalled at the treatment Brazilian striker Vinicius Jnr. suffered this season; He was attacked by fans during matches, called a monkey on live national TV and had his likeness hung on a motorway bridge near Real Madrid’s training ground.

They gathered wearing T-shirts that read “Somos todos irmaos e irmas do Vinicius Jr.” – which when translated from Portuguese reads “We are all brothers and sisters of Vinicius Jr.” – who Above them was a mass demonstration of support at Holm Park in Clydebank this weekend.

CONTINUE READING: Carlo Ancelotti says Real Madrid’s Vinicius is fully focused on the Liverpool game

“The SUFL players had a strong feeling that they wanted to show solidarity with Vinicius Jr.,” said SUFL Chairman Raphael Brown. “The ongoing abuse this young man has been subjected to is scandalous.

“SUFL was formed to bring people from all backgrounds together to play football in an environment free from racism and prejudice. We are all brothers and sisters to Vinicius Jr. We wanted him to know that he has our support and the support of millions of others around the world.

“Unfortunately, many of our players have experienced racism and prejudice, both in other football leagues and in society, and therefore know from personal experience what it feels like to face aggressive ignorance.

“We just wanted Vinicius Jr to know that for every person who abuses him, there are a million other people who support him and want the best for him and thank him for all the joy his incredible talent for football brings – and his dancing too!”


Abdul Bostani, Glasgow City Council Member and Glasgow Afghan United Managing Director, and Jim McNeill, who has refereed the league since its inception 23 years ago, explained the approach the SUFL is taking.

“The league, as the title suggests, was founded to promote unity and to challenge racism and prejudice,” Bostani said. “We have some special rules that the Spanish football authorities might want to take into account.

“Each team has to sign a declaration that it is against racism and bigotry, that its team is open to all and that its only selection criteria are ‘the ability of the individual, the character of the individual and the collective balance of the team.’

“SUFL has had a policy since day one that if a player is sent off for a racial or sectarian offense he will be immediately banned for a minimum of three months,” McNeill said.

“They must not return to the league unless they write to the player or players who abused them apologizing and regretting their behaviour. Even then, depending on the severity of his actions, the player may not be allowed back into the league.

CONTINUE READING: Jurgen Klopp insists ‘nothing could justify racist abuse of Real Madrid star Vinicius’

Glasgow Afghan United manager Elalio Haji said: “This league is unique – it has players of all backgrounds, races, colours, religions and everyone mixes together and loves their football.

“I lead the Afghan team in the league, but I’m from Tanzania. There are incredible stories behind many of our players. Many have come to escape war, poverty and prejudice in their own countries.

“SUFL welcomes them and helps them make new friends and integrate into their new society, while rightfully celebrating their Indigenous identity.”

Brown added: “Our league also has a Brazilian connection. Every year we hold a cup competition called Vasco da Gama Cup.

“At the cup final, a statement will be read to remind people that Vasco da Gama was the first team in Brazil to play black players when all the players in the other teams were white.

“Vasco’s directors sowed the seeds of the diversity that the Brazil national team displays today, which is a symbol of the diversity of the nation. The Vasco da Gama Cup Player of the Match will receive a Vasco da Gama shirt.”

Vinicius Jr. sparked a storm of controversy in December when he claimed La Liga had done nothing to combat racism. But Carlo Ancelotti, his manager at Real, agreed with the player last month. The legendary Italian explained: “This is a problem that we must solve”.

The Scottish Unity Football League has proven it can be done. Glasgow Football League shows solidarity with Vinicius Jr

Russell Falcon

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