Valencia's partial stadium ban reduced to THREE games

Valencia’s partial stadium ban is reduced to just THREE matches despite the racist abuse directed at Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jnr – after the club appealed against ‘unfair and disproportionate’ punishment

  • Valencia were initially ordered to partially close their ground for five matches 
  • The club were sanctioned after Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jnr was racially abused 
  • However, after an appeal, the punishment has now been reduced to three games

Valencia’s partial stadium ban has been reduced to three matches despite the racist abuse directed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jnr, while the fine the club were ordered to pay in the aftermath of the incident has also been lowered.

The LaLiga side were sanctioned after Vinicius was targeted by Valencia supporters during Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at the Mestalla, with the ground ordered to be partly shuttered for five games. A fine of €45,000 (£39,000) was imposed.

Vinicius threatened to walk off the pitch during the second half of the match after being subjected to monkey chants and Madrid, who labelled the incident a ‘hate crime’, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office. 

However, Valencia launched an appeal against the closure, describing it as ‘unfair and disproportionate’. The local press also hit out at the ‘unprecedented’ decision. 

The club were initially instructed to shut the Mario Kempes south stand, the location of the abuse, for five matches – although this has since been watered down.

Valencia’s stadium ban has been reduced despite the racial abuse directed at Vinicius Jnr

Real Madrid winger Vinicius was the target of vile chants and gestures and reacted furiously

The Mestalla will now be partly shuttered for three games instead of the initial five matches

The updated fine total now stands at €27,000 (£23,000).

It is believed that a further appeal has been triggered, with Valencia keen to ensure the closure does not apply for their crucial showdown against Espanyol on Sunday.

Vinicius will testify via videoconference before a Court of Instruction in Valencia, with three individuals accused of abusing him also set to speak in the investigation. 

The supporters, all of whom are between the ages of 18 and 21, were detained by police earlier this week in connection with the incident, with a court in Valencia opening a probe into the alleged racist episode that saw the match halted.

But Valencia have continued to stand firm against the wider allegations.

Confirming they had pushed back against their first punishment, a statement from the club read: ‘Valencia have collaborated from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred.

‘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.’

Vinicius was also shown a red card as tempers flared, before the sending off was rescinded

A large banner declaring ‘we are all Vinicius, enough (of racism)’ was shown at the Bernabeu 

Speaking out against the measures in a press conference, meanwhile, 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.

‘Just as a player rightly fights back against insults and I support that with all my might, we as a club and a fanbase rebel against those who, during the days since the game, have accused us of being what we are not.’

Explaining the partial stadium closure, the RFEF insisted the abuse was ‘very serious’.

‘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 governing body said.

Vinicius had also been dismissed during the match after a VAR check for an apparent push on Valencia forward Hugo Duro. The red card was overturned, though, after further footage revealed Vinicius had been grabbed by the neck before the incident.

The RFEF said the referee’s decision had been made due to him being ‘deprived of a decisive part of the facts’ and claimed it was ‘impossible’ to ‘assess’ the situation.

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