Valencia fans jailed for racist abuse of Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr during LaLiga match

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr has been subjected to several episodes of racial abuse in Spain (Getty Images)
Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr has been subjected to several episodes of racial abuse in Spain (Getty Images)

Three fans who racially abused Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr during a match in Valencia last year have each been sentenced to eight months in prison, LaLiga announced on Monday.

The league said the conviction of the trio over an incident at Valencia's Mestalla stadium on May 21, 2023 was the first for racist abuse at a football match in Spain.

The individuals have also been given a two-year stadium ban from any venue hosting LaLiga matches, or games held under the jurisdiction of the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

LaLiga said Valencia had co-operated with the investigation and had expelled the three people as members of the club.

A letter of apology to Vinicius from the defendants was read out during the hearing, LaLiga said.

"This ruling is great news for the fight against racism in Spain, as it goes some way to redressing the disgraceful wrong suffered by Vinicius Jr and sends a clear message to those individuals who go to a football stadium to hurl abuse," LaLiga president Javier Tebas said.

"LaLiga will identify them, report them, and there will be criminal consequences.

"I understand that there may be some frustration at the length of time it takes for these sentences to be handed down, but this shows that Spain is a country that guarantees judicial integrity.

“We at LaLiga can only respect the pace of justice, but once again we demand that Spanish legislation evolve to give LaLiga sanctioning powers that can speed up the fight against racism."

Currently LaLiga can only bring the facts of a case to the relevant legal authorities, and is unable to sanction clubs, fans or players for hateful conduct, racism or violent acts itself.

Real Madrid later issued a statement confirming the convictions which concluded: "Real Madrid, which has exercised together with Vinicius Junior the private prosecution in this procedure, will continue to work to protect the values of our club and eradicate any racist behaviour in the world of football and sport."