I’m a tormentor of racists – Vinicius Jr on jailed abusers

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Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr declared himself a “tormentor of racists” after three Valencia fans received eight-month prison sentences for racially abusing him during a match.

The incident occurred at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium on May 21, 2023, during a La Liga game.

The fans were found guilty of a “crime against moral integrity” with the “aggravating circumstance of discrimination based on racist motives.”

“I’m not a victim of racism. I am a tormentor of racists. This first criminal conviction in the history of Spain is not for me. It’s for all black people,” Vinicius posted on X.

“May other racists be afraid, ashamed and hide in the shadows. Otherwise, I’ll be here to collect. Thank you to La Liga and Real Madrid for helping with this historic conviction.”

This marks the first conviction for racism at a football match in Spain, resulting directly from a complaint filed by La Liga.

An initial 12-month sentence was reduced by a third after an agreement was reached during the preliminary investigation stage.

The fans were also banned from entering any stadium hosting La Liga and/or Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) matches for three years, later reduced to two.

Brazilian international Vinicius, along with La Liga, Real Madrid, and the RFEF, brought the case to court. During the hearing, the defendants read a letter of apology.

La Liga president Javier Tebas 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.

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

Real Madrid said they “will continue to work to protect the values of our club and eradicate any racist behaviour in the world of football and sport”.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino hailed the sentences as a “positive step” and praised the “firm action”.

Writing on his Instagram Story, Infantino said: “Our message to people anywhere in the world who still behave in a racist way when they are dealing with football is clear: we don’t want you. These people have to be excluded, they are not part of our community and not part of football.”