Racist perpetrators of violence against Winicjusz Jr. sentenced to prison in Spain

June 11 (THEWILL) – In a landmark ruling, three Valencia soccer fans were sentenced to eight months in prison for hate crimes against Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr, the first conviction in Spain for racist insults in a soccer stadium.

The court found that during the match in May 2023, the defendants used racist shouts, gestures and insults referring to the skin color of the 23-year-old Brazilian, which caused his humiliation and undermined his dignity.

The trio, who pleaded guilty to the charges, were found guilty of imitating monkey noises and forward movements. Although they are unlikely to serve time due to Spain’s non-violent crime laws for first-time offenders, they were given a two-year stadium ban and must pay legal costs. At the hearing, they also issued a letter of apology to Vinicius, La Liga and Real Madrid.

La Liga president Javier Tebas hailed the ruling as a triumph in the fight against racism, sending a clear message that perpetrators face criminal consequences. The incident sparked worldwide outrage, gathered support for Vinicius and led to the creation of the FIFA Anti-Racism Committee, which included players.

The UEFA Champions League winner and Ballon d’Or contender has seen 16 reported incidents of racist abuse over the past two seasons. In March, Vinicius emotionally urged Spanish authorities to end the repeated ill-treatment that had affected his motivation and enjoyment of sports.

The conviction comes amid intensified efforts against racism in Spanish football, with recent examples including the firing of a television analyst over racist remarks, the partial closure of stadiums due to racist chants and the suspension of matches after a Senegalese goalkeeper was the victim of racist displays of violence.

Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, specializing in sourcing, researching and delivering sports news for print and digital publications.