Vinicius Jr: Valencia racism fine and stadium closure reduced on appeal

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Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano players hold a banner saying "racists out of football" in support of Vinicius Jr before Wednesday's La Liga match at the Bernabeu
Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano players held a banner saying “racists out of football” in support of Vinicius Jr before Wednesday’s La Liga match at the Bernabeu

Valencia’s punishment following the racist abuse of Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr has been reduced on appeal.

The partial closure of the La Liga club’s Mestalla Stadium has been reduced from five to three matches.

And their fine has been cut from 45,000 euros to 27,000 euros (£23,400) after the Spanish Football Federation appeals committee said it had decided to “partially uphold” Valencia’s appeal.

Brazil’s Vinicius, 22, was subjected to racist chants from the crowd.

Spanish police have detained three people in connection with the abuse and Real Madrid, who said it constituted a “hate crime”, have reported it to the Spanish prosecutor’s office.

Valencia were given 10 days to appeal against their fine and partial stadium closure, which they argued was “disproportionate, unjust and unprecedented”.

“Valencia have collaborated from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred,” a statement from the club read following the initial punishment.

“In addition, we have applied the maximum possible sanction with the ban for life from our stadium for racist behaviour of the fans identified by police.”

Speaking at a press conference, Valencia head coach Ruben Baraja added: “I am not going to allow the Valencia CF fans and Mestalla to be smeared with labels that do not represent us.”

In explaining the partial stadium closure, the Spanish Football Federation had said: “It is considered proven that, as reflected by the referee in his minutes, there were racist shouts at Vinicius, altering the normal course of the match and considering the infractions very serious.”

The partial stadium closure will apply to the Mestalla Stadium’s south stand, an area a clearly angry and emotional Vinicius was seen pointing to during Sunday’s second half before reporting the issue to the referee.

He was sent off in the 97th minute of the 1-0 defeat, but the red card was later overturned by Spain’s competition committee.

Vinicius Jr reacted angrily after the game, saying on social media that “La Liga belongs to racists”, opening up a wider debate on the issue in the country.

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