• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Fans jailed for racist abuse of Vinicius Jr

Vinicius Jr (1)

Three Valencia fans have been sentenced to eight months in prison for racially abusing Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior, marking the first conviction for racism at a football match in Spain. This landmark ruling follows a complaint filed by La Liga.

The incident occurred during a La Liga game at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium on May 21, 2023, where the fans directed racist chants at Vinicius Jr. The court found them guilty of a “crime against moral integrity” with the “aggravating circumstance of discrimination based on racist motives.”

Initially handed a 12-month sentence, the term was reduced by a third after an agreement during the preliminary investigation. Additionally, the fans received a ban from entering any football stadium hosting La Liga or Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) matches for three years, later reduced to two.

The case was brought to court with the support of La Liga, Real Madrid, and the RFEF. During the hearing, the defendants read a letter of apology.

La Liga President Javier Tebas praised the ruling, stating,

“This ruling is great news for the fight against racism in Spain, as it goes some way to redressing the disgraceful wrong suffered by Vinicius Jr and sends a clear message to those individuals who go to a football stadium to hurl abuse. La Liga will identify them, report them, and there will be criminal consequences.”

He acknowledged the frustration over the time for these sentences but emphasized that the ruling shows Spain’s commitment to judicial integrity. Tebas also urged for legislative changes to grant La Liga sanctioning powers to expedite the fight against racism.

Real Madrid expressed their commitment to continue working towards eradicating racist behaviour in football and sport, aligning with the club’s values.

This historic verdict underscores the ongoing efforts to combat racism in football and sets a precedent for future cases.