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Vinicius supports 3 fans jailling for racially abusive

Messenger Sports

Published: 10:48, 11 June 2024

Vinicius supports 3 fans jailling for racially abusive

Photo: Collected

Vinicius Junior welcomed the eight-month prison sentences handed down on Monday (10 June) to three Valencia fans for racially abusing him during a La Liga match last year. "This first criminal conviction in Spanish history is not for me. It's for all black people," the Real Madrid and Brazil attacker posted on social media.

"But, as I've always said, I'm not a victim of racism. I'm a destroyer of racists. Let the other racists be afraid, ashamed and hide in the shadows. Otherwise, I'll be here to collect the debt," he wrote. "Thank you to La Liga and Real Madrid for helping to bring about this historic verdict. There's more to come..."

The defendants, who were not identified, were convicted of an offence against moral integrity with the aggravating factor of racially motivated discrimination, the 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. Spain's 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."

Gianni Infantino, the president of world football's governing body FIFA, posted on Instagram the decision was "a positive step". "Our message to people anywhere in the world who behave in a racist way when they are dealing with football is clear: we don't want you," Infantino wrote.

The Brazilian football federation president Ednaldo Rodrigues called for harsher punishments for such incidents. "The decision is a start, a path, and shows the importance of pressure from society for the authorities to really get involved in this fight against racism," Rodrigues said. "It was a punishment that I interpret as still mild, but steps are being taken step by step," he added.

The incident took place on May 21, 2023 at Valencia's Mestalla stadium when home fans hurled abuse and made monkey noises at the Real Madrid forward. 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.