Abusers handed eight month sentence for racism towards Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior

Abusers handed eight month sentence for racism towards Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior called out racial abuse that he received from the stands in Mestalla in May of 2023 during a Liga match, and the three fans identified as responsible for making monkey noises have been punished. They have each been handed an eight-month sentence in a landmark ruling.

The Brazilian went directly to the stands to point at the culprits, who were quickly identified by Valencia and had their memberships removed. After a lengthy judicial process, for the first time a prison sentence has been handed out for racism following a La Liga complaint. The RFEF, Real Madrid and Vinicius himself also joined the case.

They have been found liable for a crime against moral integrity, with the aggravating factor of discrimination for racial motives. The guilty trio could have faced 12 months in prison as a maximum, but saw four months of the sentence reduced due to co-operation. Similarly, they will face a two-year ban from football grounds rather than three years. They will also pay the legal costs, and read a statement apologising to La Liga, Vinicius and Real Madrid, which also highlighted the role of La Liga in combating racism.

“This ruling is great news regarding the fight against racism in Spain, as it redresses the wrong suffered by Vinicius Jr. and sends a clear message to those people who go to a football stadium to hurl abuse. LALIGA will identify them, report them and there will be criminal consequences for them,” said President Javier Tebas.

Until this point, the majority of the punishments handed out for racial abuse during Liga matches were met with fines and bans from stadiums, but the increased frequency of abuse suffered by Vinicius and others was further evidence of the necessity for harsher punishments. Going forward, hopefully this will mark a key point in the movement towards a football without racism.