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Fans who racially insulted Vinícius set to be fined, banned from games

By Associated Press

MADRID: Spain’s anti-violence commission on Monday proposed fines of 60,001 euros ($64,290) and two-year bans from stadiums for each of the four men accused of hanging an effigy of Real Madrid player Vinícius Júnior by the neck off a bridge in Madrid in January.

The commission also proposed fines of 5,000 euros and one-year bans from stadiums for each of the three Valencia fans accused of racially insulting Vinícius during a Spanish league match on May 21.

The punishment was expected to be imposed by local authorities.

Spanish club Valencia had already banned the three fans for life from its stadium. The club was fined 27,000 euros and was punished with the partial closure of Mestalla Stadium for three matches.

All seven people had been arrested a couple of days after the racial abuse in Valencia prompted an outpouring of support for Vinícius and a quick response by authorities and soccer officials.

The seven people were released pending further investigation by authorities. They could all face criminal charges, though so far no one has ever gone to trial in Spain for racially abusing a professional soccer player.

The incident of the effigy occurred on Jan. 26 in the buildup to a derby match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

ALSO READ: Real Madrid star Vinicius gains more support as Spanish football again embroiled in racism

The 22-year-old Vinícius, who is Black, has been subjected to repeated racist taunts since he arrived in Spain five years ago from his native Brazil. He has criticized Spanish soccer and local authorities for their lack of action.

The Spanish soccer federation and the Brazilian soccer federation on Monday announced that Spain will host Brazil in a friendly to mark both nations’ fight against racism. The game will be played next March in Spain.

The Brazilian federation had strongly defended Vinícius after he was insulted and criticized Spanish soccer and local authorities for their lack of action to protect the Brazilian player.

“We agreed that we had to build things together, not only lament what had happened,” Spanish Federation president Luis Rubiales said. “This game shows our unity and our dedication to fight together against everything that harms the values of soccer.”

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