By PA Sport Staff
Valencia will appeal against their five-game partial stadium closure and hefty fine following the racist abuse aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior, calling the sanction “unfair and disproportionate”.
Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half of Sunday’s LaLiga match at the Mestalla after being subjected to alleged monkey chants from the crowd and Real Madrid, who said the incident constituted a “hate crime”, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.
In response, the club have been ordered to shut the Mario Kempes south stand, where the alleged abuse happened, for five matches and have also been fined 45,000 euros (£39,000) by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).
COMUNICADO OFICIAL | RESPETO POR NUESTRA AFICIÓN
— Valencia CF (@valenciacf) May 23, 2023
Valencia said in a strongly worded statement: “Valencia CF wishes to show its total disagreement and indignation at the unfair and disproportionate penalty imposed by the competition committee on the club with the closure of the stand for five games.
“Valencia CF wants to publicly denounce that in this resolution of the RFEF competition committee they show evidence that contradicts what the national police and LaLiga say.
“In addition, this sanction is based on evidence that the club has not been able to see and without giving us a hearing.
“Valencia CF has condemned, condemns and will condemn in the most energetic way any act of racism or violence. These behaviours have no place in football or in society and we will continue to act in the most forceful way to eradicate this scourge.
“For this reason, Valencia CF is collaborating from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred last Sunday.
“In addition, it has applied the maximum possible sanction with the expulsion for life from our stadium to the fans that the police have identified for their racist behaviour.
“For this reason we consider that penalising and depriving all the fans who were not involved in these unfortunate incidents from seeing their team is a totally disproportionate, unfair and unprecedented measure against which we will fight.
“The fight against racism requires the real commitment of all the parties involved without using it as a pretext to incur serious injustices.
“Valencia CF will appeal to the last instance the closure of the stand, a sanction that it considers totally unfair and one more offence in the latest disciplinary decisions that have been taken against the club. Valencia CF asks for the utmost respect and rigour for our institution and fans.”
An RFEF statement on Tuesday night read: “The competition committee has sanctioned Valencia CF with the partial closure of the Mestalla stadium for five matches, more specifically the Mario Kempes south stand, following the events that occurred during the league match between the local team and Real Madrid CF.
“It is considered proven that, as reflected by the referee in his minutes, there were racist shouts at Vinicius, a Real Madrid CF player, during the aforementioned match, altering the normal course of the match and considering the infractions very serious.
“In addition, an economic sanction of 45,000 euros (£39,000) is imposed on Valencia.”
LaLiga players and officials called for racism to be tackled in Spain in the wake of Sunday’s match.
Before Tuesday night’s games between Real Valladolid and Barcelona, and Celta Vigo and Girona, players from both sides, as well as the match officials, stood behind banners which read ‘Racism, out of football’.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) May 23, 2023
LaLiga shared a pre-match clip from the Celta-Girona game on its official Twitter account with the hashtag #JUNTOSContraElRacismo (#TOGETHERagainstRacism).
The footage also showed a supporter holding up a placard with ‘No Al Racismo’ (No to Racism) written on it.
There were similar sentiments at the Valladolid-Barcelona game as fans showed their support for Brazil international Vinicius.
Barcelona forward Raphinha removed his shirt when substituted to show a message which read: “As long as the colour of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war.”