Soccer fans get to 8 months for Vinícius Júnior abuse

Three soccer fans were sentenced to eight months in prison and issued a two-year ban from soccer stadiums in Spain after allegedly racially abusing a Brazilian player.

During a May 2023 game between top-tier soccer clubs Real Madrid and Valencia, fans of Valencia made racially charged chants in their stadium directed at star player Vinícius Júnior.

The game at Mestalla Stadium was delayed for about 10 minutes as the player nicknamed Vini Jr. called out spectators in the crowd, and requested officials put a stop to their racial remarks.

Fans were heard continuously chanting “mono” (monkey) as well as “Vinícius die.”

Following the game, Real Madrid filed a hate-crime complaint and three fans, who remain unnamed, were arrested.

The fans were found guilty of a crime against moral integrity with the aggravating circumstance of discrimination based on racist motives, NBC News reported.

The eight-month sentence was accompanied by a two-year ban from soccer stadiums, along with the defendants having to pay for all court proceedings.

TMZ noted that the punishment was initially a 12-month prison sentence combined with a three-year stadium ban until the accused accepted criminal responsibility, at which point their sentence was reduced.

‘This ruling is great news regarding the fight against racism in Spain.’

Vinícius Júnior has received a considerable amount of verbal abuse from soccer fans between 2023-2024. He was seen crying when thousands of fans chanted “mono” at him during the match in Spain in 2023.

Just a couple weeks later in Spain, a mannequin wearing the player’s jersey was hung from a bridge by its neck with a rope. The doll was hanging beneath a giant banner that read “MADRID ODIA AL REAL,” which translated to “Madrid Hates Real,” referring to rival team Real Madrid.

In February 2024, Vinícius Júnior was pictured in Morocco playing soccer with some local children. After the public event, a video circulated of young soccer fans recording the player while saying, “Hey black! Hey monkey!” and even, “Here’s a slave playing in our neighborhood,” a video posted online claimed.

During a press conference, Vini Jr. shed tears as he said, “I just want to play football.”

“I just want to do everything for my club and my family,” he added.

Javier Tebas, president of Spanish soccer league La Liga, said, “This ruling is great news regarding the fight against racism in Spain.”

“It redresses the wrong suffered by Vinicius Junior and sends a clear message to those people who go to a football stadium to hurl abuse. La Liga will identify them, report them and there will be criminal consequences for them,” Tebas also said.

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