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HomeFootballEight months in prison for three fans after racist insults against Vinicius

Eight months in prison for three fans after racist insults against Vinicius

Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid is repeatedly the target of racist hostility, including in May 2023 at the Estadio Mestalla in Valencia. A court has now sentenced three fans to prison.

The Valencia supporters were sentenced to eight months in prison and a two-year stadium ban on Monday and must also pay the costs of the proceedings. On May 21, 2023, at Valencia’s home game against Real Madrid, Vinicius reported that he had been racially insulted by fans in the stands. The game was interrupted for a few minutes and the Brazilian identified one of the accused. Following a complaint from La Liga, two more perpetrators were identified thanks to internal cameras

“This verdict is good news for the fight against racism in Spain, as it makes amends for the damage suffered by Vinicius Jr. and sends a clear message to those who go to a soccer stadium to insult – that La Liga will track them down, denounce them and take criminal action,” La Liga president Javier Tebas is quoted as saying.

The public prosecutor for combating hate crimes in Valencia, Susana Gisbert, also noted the verdict with satisfaction. “On the one hand, I am sure that these people will not do something like this again, that they have thought about the importance of this matter, but it also serves as a warning to those who might do it, so that possible perpetrators know that it is not in vain and so that possible victims know that they are protected by the public prosecutor’s office and the courts,” said Gisbert.

Remorse ultimately did not save the trio from punishment. During the hearing, the defendants read out a letter of apology to Vinicius, La Liga and Real.

Public prosecutor speaks of first step

This is the first conviction following a complaint by La Liga; the Spanish soccer association RFEF, Real Madrid and Vinicius himself were also involved. Prosecutor Gisbert said she was “sure” that this was a first step towards eradicating racist insults in sport. “It’s almost the first case of a soccer match where there were racial insults and we have a conviction for a crime with the aggravating factor of hate, and that’s very important. I think the conditions are satisfactory for everyone.”

Real Madrid said in a statement that they would “continue to work to protect the values of our club and to eradicate any racist behavior in the world of soccer and sport”.

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