Seven people were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly racially abusing Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior. The Brazilian forward has been a frequent target for racial abuse and the pressure of La Liga and Spanish authorities has increased after Vinicius was abused during Real Madrid’s last match against Valencia.

Real Valladolid improved their chances of surviving in La Liga after beating champions Barcelona on Tuesday. Real Sociedad are one step closer to qualifying in the Champions League after winning 1-0 against Almeria.

Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 23 May, 2023:

Spain arrests seven over Vinicius racism incidents

Spanish police arrested seven people Tuesday over the racial abuse of Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior, as the Brazilian star was spared a ban for his red card against Valencia.

The forward was targeted by Valencia fans on Sunday, sparking an international outcry, and the Spanish club had one stand of their stadium shut for five games by the Spanish football authorities late Tuesday.

Spain’s football league, La Liga, has been engulfed in a racism scandal after the 22-year-old forward was subjected to racist taunts during Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at Valencia and later sent off.

The player has been taunted by opposition fans since joining Real in 2018 but the latest incident has kicked up a storm over whether Spain is doing enough to stamp out racism in football.

Police on Tuesday arrested three youths in Valencia for “insults and gestures with racist overtones” towards the player that amounted to “an alleged hate crime” during Sunday’s match.

After their statements were taken, they were later “released on condition they appear when summoned” by the public prosecutor’s office or the courts, a police spokesman told AFP.

Sunday’s game was held up for several minutes with the referee saying that shouts of “monkey” had been directed at Vinicius.

In a statement, Valencia confirmed the arrests, reiterating its “strongest condemnation of racism and violence” and saying the club was acting against those involved “by banning them for life” from their stadium.

In Madrid, police arrested another four men suspected of dangling an effigy wearing a Real Madrid shirt with Vinicius’ number on it from a bridge earlier this year.

The dark-skinned inflatable dummy was hung by the neck from a bridge near Real Madrid’s training ground several hours before a derby clash with Atletico Madrid on January 26.

Above it was a 16-metre banner reading ‘Madrid hates Real’, police said.

The Spanish football federation also announced the decision to shut the Mario Kempes stand at Mestalla – where Vinicius singled out a fan who had been abusing him – for five matches, and fined the club 45,000 euros ($48,000).

Valencia protested the decision in a statement early Wednesday morning.

There is growing anger in Brazil over the incident, with the lights on the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro turned off for an hour in solidarity with the player.

Valladolid beat champions Barca

Real Valladolid earned an important 3-1 victory over champions Barcelona to boost their La Liga survival hopes on Tuesday.

The hosts were good value for their victory and climbed to 17th, moving provisionally three points clear of the relegation zone.

Barcelona defender Andreas Christensen sent Valladolid on their way by heading into his own net in the second minute.

Canadian striker Cyle Larin added the second from the penalty spot after Eric Garcia tripped Gonzalo Plata in the area, with the Ecuadorian winger scoring the third on the break.

La Liga’s top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski pulled one back for the Catalans in the final stages.

Barcelona winger Raphinha revealed a message of support for Real Madrid winger and Brazil compatriot Vinicius Junior in the second half when he was substituted.

Vinicius was racially abused by Valencia fans on Sunday at their Mestalla stadium.

“I didn’t know he was going to do it but I think it’s a good message, because racism has to end,” Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong told DAZN, after Raphinha took his shirt off to show the message after being substituted.

Players from both sides held up a banner reading “racists out of football” before the game, as part of a La Liga and Spanish football federation initiative following the abuse on Sunday.

Real Sociedad put one foot into next season’s Champions League with a 1-0 win over 10-man Almeria.

Takefusa Kubo’s first-half strike gave Imanol Alguacil’s side, fourth, an eight-point lead on fifth-place Villarreal, who face Cadiz on Wednesday.

Almeria striker Luis Suarez was dismissed after 36 minutes for a rough tackle on defender Robin Le Normand.

Japanese winger Kubo took his goal brilliantly, cutting in from the right and curling into the top left corner in first-half stoppage time.

Real Sociedad have not played in Europe’s premier competition since the 2013-14 season and can qualify if Villarreal fail to win any of their last three matches or by earning two more points themselves.

Defeat leaves Almeria provisionally 15th, four points above the relegation zone.

Celta Vigo, 14th, were held to a 1-1 home draw by Girona and are five points above the relegation zone.

Honda to supply Aston Martin engines from 2026

High-flying Aston Martin will be powered by Honda engines from 2026 in what the Formula One team says is “the last piece of the jigsaw”.

This represents a return to F1 for Honda, who left in 2021 but retain links with Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

The tie up, announced on Wednesday, comes in the run-up to this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix with Aston Martin a surprise second to world champions Red Bull in the constructors’ standings.

That lofty position is in no small part down to Fernando Alonso, the two-time former champion who has made the podium in four of this season’s five races as he revels in his switch from Alpine.

Hailing the Honda link-up, Martin Whitmarsh, Group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, said: “Our future works partnership with Honda is one of the last parts of the jigsaw puzzle slotting into place for Aston Martin’s ambitious plans in Formula One.”

Aston will continue to be powered by Mercedes power units until 2026 when there is a sizeable shift in F1’s technical landscape.

From 2026 Red Bull and AlphaTauri are linking up with Ford when the existing hybrid power units will rely more on electric energy using 100 percent sustainable fuel.

Audi are also joining the F1 grid from 2026 in a deal to power the Sauber team, currently racing as Alfa Romeo. The other constructors are Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault (Alpine).

With text inputs from AFP

Updated through the day