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Valencia fans jailed for racially abusing Vinicius Jr

Three Valencia fans have been sentenced to eight months in prison after being found guilty of racially abusing Brazilian forward, Vinicius Junior, during a match between Valencia and Real Madrid at the Mestalla in May 2023.

During the match, which Real Madrid went on to win 1-0, the game was suspended after Vinicius Jr made his way over to a section of the Valencia crowd to pinpoint an individual who had been relentlessly racially abusing him throughout the match.

Vinicius Jr and valencia fans
Vinicius Jr cups his ear to Valencia fans at the Mestalla – Photo by Icon Sport

The incident understandably gained plenty of traction online with the incident becoming major news across the world. Not least because after the match, the Brazilian stated that he believed racism was ‘normal' in La Liga and called on authorities to properly deal with the problem.

At the time, Valencia were ordered to play five matches without fans in their South Stand, where the racist abuse came from, but it did little to prevent further racist attacks on players in Spanish football. Vinicius himself has been the victim of several attacks while in April 2024, Atletico Madrid fans targeted Athletic Bilbao's Nico Williams.

La Liga respond to Valencia fans being jailed

The guilty verdict for the three Valencia and their subsequent punishment of eight months in jail and a two-year ban from football stadiums could turn out to be a groundbreaking moment in Spanish football's battle against racism.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has long been accused of being too lenient on cases related to racism but earlier today, he praised the sentencing. He said:

“This ruling is great news regarding the fight against racism in Spain. It redresses the wrong suffered by Vinícius Júnior and sends a clear message to those people who go to a football stadium to hurl abuse. La Liga will identify them, report them and there will be criminal consequences for them.

“I understand that there may be some frustration at the length of time it takes for these sentences to be handed down, but this shows that Spain is a country that guarantees judicial integrity. LaLiga can only respect the pace of justice, and once again demand that Spanish legislation evolves so that LaLiga has sanctioning powers that can speed up the fight against racism.”


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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