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Valencia are set to play five matches without fans in their South Stand following the racist abuse suffered by Vinicius Jr during a match between Valencia and Real Madrid on Sunday night. The abuse came from the South Stand of the stadium and Valencia will now face five games at the Mestalla with that part of the ground empty.
The news of the partial closure comes after Spanish police confirmed they have detained three supporters in relation to the appalling abuse that the Brazilian forward was subjected to. Valencia have also been fined 45,000 euros.
In a statement, the Spanish Football Federation said:
“It is considered proven that, as reflected by the referee in his minutes, there were racist shouts at Vinicius, altering the normal course of the match and considering the infractions very serious.”
The Spanish club haven’t taken the news of the partial closure well. In a statement released earlier, they said that the punishment was “disproportionate, unjust and unprecedented” and outlined their intention to appeal in a move that is not going to go down well.
However, the club believes their own internal investigations and punishment should be sufficient. They said:
“Valencia have collaborated from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred. In addition, we have applied the maximum possible sanction with the ban for life from our stadium for racist behaviour of the fans identified by police.”
A damning incident
The abuse from the South Stand of the Mestalla towards Vinicius Jr on Sunday night was a timely reminder that racism is still rife in football. It isn’t the first time this season that a player has been subjected to racist abuse from the stands and it won’t be the last until tougher sanctions are placed on those who do it and better education is provided.
The Brazilian was taunted all match and was ultimately sent off in stoppage time after a tussle with Hugo Duro which resulted in even more abuse. The Brazilian had tried to tell the referee about the issue earlier in the match but was ignored.
The Spanish Football Federation have confirmed that Vinicius’ red card has been rescinded which means he will be free to play in Real Madrid’s remaining games this season should he a) want to and b) be fit. The Brazilian has suggested that he may be done with Spanish football as a result of the incident while he is also nursing a knee injury.
Support from the football community
Since the incident on Sunday, Vinicius Jr has received a huge amount of support from all corners of the football world from Rio Ferdinand to Barcelona’s Raphinha. The most powerful message of all, though, came from Pele’s daughter. She said:
“Spain should be ashamed. La Liga should be ashamed. Real Madrid should be ashamed that they're not putting their foot down and standing up for him.”
“How much more powerful if my father's legacy was not a stadium, but a movement, a law, a tangible action that fights racism, that makes it so a Vini Junior today does not have to go through what my father went through in 1958.”
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