Valencia CF has successfully appealed the punishment handed to them after the racist abuse suffered by Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr during a recent match.
The Spanish Football Federation appeals committee has decided to “partially uphold” Valencia’s appeal, resulting in a reduction of the club’s penalty.
Initially, Valencia faced a five-match partial closure of their home ground, the Mestalla Stadium, and a fine of 45,000 euros.
However, following the appeal, the partial closure has been reduced to three matches, and the fine has been reduced to 27,000 euros (£23,400).
The appeals committee deemed the initial punishment to be disproportionate and unjust, leading to this decision.
During the match, Vinicius Jr, a 22-year-old Brazilian player, was subjected to racist chants from the crowd. Real Madrid condemned the incident as a “hate crime” and reported it to the Spanish prosecutor’s office. Spanish police detained three individuals in connection with the racist abuse.
Valencia, in response to the initial punishment, expressed their cooperation with the authorities in investigating the incident and their commitment to combating racism.
They had already imposed a lifetime ban on any individuals involved in racist behavior. The club argued that the punishment handed down was excessive and unprecedented, prompting them to file an appeal.
Valencia’s head coach, Ruben Baraja, emphasized that the actions of a few individuals should not tarnish the reputation of the club and its fans.
He stated, “I am not going to allow the Valencia CF fans and Mestalla to be smeared with labels that do not represent us.”
The Spanish Football Federation, in its explanation for the partial stadium closure, acknowledged the racist shouts directed at Vinicius Jr, which were corroborated by the referee’s report.
These chants were deemed a serious infraction that disrupted the normal course of the match.
The punishment imposed on Valencia will primarily affect the south stand of the Mestalla Stadium, the area from where the racist abuse originated.
Vinicius Jr pointed towards that section during the second half of the match before reporting the incident to the referee.
It should be noted that the red card initially shown to Vinicius Jr in the 97th minute of the game was later rescinded by Spain’s competition committee.
The aftermath of the match saw Vinicius Jr expressing his anger and frustration on social media, proclaiming that “La Liga belongs to racists.”
This outburst by the young player has sparked a wider debate on racism in Spanish football, prompting calls for more stringent measures to combat such behaviour.