Valencia will have to play five games without fans in one of their stands after they were found guilty of racially abusing Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr by the Spanish FA. The club will also pay a fine of €45,000 (£39,000) for the incident that took place during their 1-0 win over Real Madrid on Sunday.
The south stand of Mestalla stadium, named after Valencia legend Mario Kempes, was where some fans directed monkey noises at Vinicius Jr when he touched the ball. The referee stopped the game for 10 minutes and asked for an announcement to be made over the loudspeaker to warn the fans.
Vinicius Jr was also involved in a scuffle with some Valencia players after he reacted angrily to the abuse. He was shown a red card by the referee, but it was later rescinded by the Spanish FA (RFEF) after they reviewed the video evidence.
The RFEF said in a statement that they considered the racist insults as “very serious” infractions that “altered the normal course of the match”. They also said that they based their decision on the referee’s report and other evidence that Valencia had not been able to access or challenge.
Valencia said they were “totally disagreeing” with the ruling and that they would appeal against it. They said it was “unfair” and “disproportionate” to punish all their fans who were not responsible for the “shameful” behaviour of a few.
They also accused the RFEF of contradicting what La Liga and the national police had said about the incident. They said they had always condemned any form of racism or violence and that they would fight against it.
Vinicius Jr expressed his frustration with La Liga and Spain after he suffered racism for several times this season. He said on Twitter that “racism is normal in La Liga” and that “Spain is known as a country of racists” in his native Brazil.
He also said he was sorry for those Spaniards who disagreed with him but that he would not tolerate racism anymore. He received support from his teammate Éder Militão, his coach Carlo Ancelotti, and his country’s president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
La Liga said they would request all available images to investigate what happened and that they would take legal action if they identified any hate crime.