Valencia to appeal against 'unfair' racism sanctions
Spanish soccer club Valencia have said they will appeal against "unfair and disproportionate" sanctions imposed following racist abuse aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.
Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half of Sunday's La Liga match at Valencia's Mestalla after being subjected to alleged monkey chants from the crowd.
Real Madrid, who said the incident constituted a "hate crime", filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General's office.
In response, the club have been ordered to shut the stadium's Mario Kempes south stand, from where it is alleged the abuse emanated, for five matches and have also been fined 45,000 euros ($74,000) by the Spanish football federation.
"Valencia CF wishes to show its total disagreement and indignation at the unfair and disproportionate penalty imposed by the competition committee on the club with the closure of the stand for five games," the club said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Valencia CF has condemned, condemns and will condemn in the most energetic way any act of racism or violence.
"These behaviours have no place in football or in society and we will continue to act in the most forceful way to eradicate this scourge.
"For this reason, Valencia CF is collaborating from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred last Sunday.
"In addition, it has applied the maximum possible sanction with the expulsion for life from our stadium to the fans that the police have identified for their racist behaviour.
"For this reason we consider that penalising and depriving all the fans who were not involved in these unfortunate incidents from seeing their team is a totally disproportionate, unfair and unprecedented measure against which we will fight.
"The fight against racism requires the real commitment of all the parties involved without using it as a pretext to incur serious injustices.
"Valencia CF will appeal to the last instance the closure of the stand, a sanction that it considers totally unfair and one more offence in the latest disciplinary decisions that have been taken against the club."
La Liga players and officials have called for racism to be tackled in Spain in the wake of Sunday's match.
Before Tuesday night's games between Real Valladolid and Barcelona, and Celta Vigo and Girona, players from both sides stood behind banners which read 'Racism, out of football'.
Barcelona forward Raphinha removed his shirt when substituted to show a message of support for Vinicius that read: 'As long as the colour of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war'.
Real Madrid forward Vinicius was set to serve a two or three-match ban after being sent off during the game at Valencia on Sunday but Spain's competition committee has rescinded that red card.