Three Valencia fans jailed for racist attack on Real Madrid's VINICIUS

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 - Three Valencia fans have been handed eight-month jail terms for racist abuse towards Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior,  in what Spain's La Liga said was the first such conviction in Spain.

The defendants, who were not identified, were convicted of an offence against moral integrity with the aggravating factor of racially motivated discrimination, Valencia court said.

They were also slapped with a two-year match ban. With no previous criminal record, none will serve jail time as judges habitually suspend prison sentences of less than two years for first-time offenders.

La Liga hailed the ruling as "the first sentence handed down for racist insults in a Spanish football stadium".

"This sentence is very good news for the fight against racism in Spain," said La Liga president Javier Tebas.

"It sends a clear message to anyone who goes to a football stadium to hurl insults that La Liga will find and prosecute them and that they will face criminal consequences."

The incident took place on May 21, 2023, when Real Madrid played away to Valencia at the Mestalla stadium during a match that saw home fans hurling abuse and chanting monkey noises at the Brazilian forward.

The play was halted as Vinicius stood in front of fans and pointed at those responsible, prompting stadium officials to demand an end to racist insults before the match could resume.

All three "shouted and chanted at the player with... evident contempt for the colour of his skin... making racist gestures of contempt and causing him to feel frustration, shame and humiliation", court documents showed.

It said they were "simulating the gestures made by primates and repeatedly making... the sound made by monkeys" in front of a full stadium and a "massive" TV, radio, and media audience.

In a statement, Real Madrid said the trio had admitted their wrongdoing and sent a letter apologising to Vinicius, the club and to everyone else "who felt belittled or offended by their behaviour", urging fans to avoid all expressions of "racism and intolerance".

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