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    Racism case in Spain results in jail terms for Valencia supporters

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    The first conviction in Spain for racist insults during a football match was handed down on Monday, sentencing three supporters of the Valencia football team to eight months in prison.

    The Spanish La Liga released a statement saying, “The three perpetrators were sentenced to 8 months imprisonment, given a 2-year ban from entering a stadium, and ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings.”

    LaLiga verified that the three had yelled racial taunts against Vinicius Junior, the black Brazilian star of Real Madrid, during a May 21, 2023, game at Valencia’s Mestalla.

    It was evident that some supporters were referring to Vinicius Junior as a “monkey,” a racial slur meant to disparage African Americans.

    The top division of Spanish football declared, “Valencia CF cooperated in the identification of the accused and immediately proceeded to expel them as members of the club.”

    “This verdict is fantastic news for the battle against racism in Spain since it rights the wrongs done to Vinicius Jr. and sends a strong message to those who attend football games to hurl insults. According to LaLiga President Javier Tebas, “LALIGA will identify them, report them, and there will be criminal consequences for them.”

    When Vinicius Junior and Real Madrid brought the unpleasant behavior to their attention after the match, Valencia prosecutors opened a hate crime investigation.

    Since 2018, the 23-year-old Real Madrid attacker, who mostly plays on the left wing, has been the target of taunts from opposing supporters at Spanish stadiums.

    He won the Spanish title three times while playing for Real Madrid, and he also won the UEFA Champions League twice, in 2022 and 2024.

    Vinicius Junior made 264 appearances for the Spanish team, tallying 83 goals and 75 assists.

     

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