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Gianni Infantino praises prison sentences for Valencia fans over racist abuse

11. June 2024
Gianni Infantino (foto: Getty Images)
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has praised the eight-month prison sentences handed to three Valencia fans for racist abuse against Vinicius Jr., calling it a positive step.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino expressed satisfaction with the sentencing of three Valencia fans to eight months in prison for racist insults directed at Brazilian player Vinicius Jr., deeming it a positive step forward.

"I am pleased to see the firm action and punishment imposed by the Spanish authorities concerning the racist behavior against Vinicius. This is a positive step," Infantino wrote on his Instagram profile.

On Monday, three Valencia football fans were sentenced to eight months in prison for hate crimes against Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr., marking the first such ruling for racist abuse at football stadiums in Spain.

In Spain, prison sentences shorter than two years for non-violent crimes rarely require the accused to serve time unless they have prior convictions, so the three are likely to remain free unless they commit further offenses. Additionally, the three fans were banned from entering football stadiums for two years.

The incident occurred at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium in May last year during a league match when Vinicius was racially abused.

"As I reiterated at the recent FIFA Congress in Bangkok, we can no longer accept what is happening in stadiums and on the pitch. Our message to those who continue to behave in a racist manner in connection with football is that these people must be excluded; they are no longer part of our community or football," Infantino added. The FIFA President also advocated for recognizing racism as a criminal offense in all countries worldwide.
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