(Madrid) Three supporters of the Spanish club Valencia were sentenced on Monday to eight months in prison for having uttered racist insults towards Brazilian Real Madrid striker Vinicius Junior in May 2023, which caused a wave of international indignation.

These three supporters, who admitted the facts, were also banned from attending the stadium for two years as part of a so-called guilty plea procedure, the Valencia Superior Court of Justice said in a press release.

They will also have to cover the procedural costs linked to the case, adds the court, for which these racist cries caused in the player feelings of “frustration, shame and humiliation, with the consequence of an attack on his dignity “.

In a press release, Real Madrid welcomed this conviction, the “first for facts of this nature” in Spain, according to the club, which specifies that the three supporters “made public a letter of apology addressed” to the 23-year-old player. years.

On May 21, 2023, Vinicius Junior was greeted by monkey cries upon his arrival at the Valencia stadium, where Real Madrid had traveled as part of a championship match. He was then copiously insulted by supporters during the match.

Entered into an investigation for “hate crime”, a criminal category including racist crimes, the Spanish police announced three days later the arrest of three supporters aged 18 to 21, thanks to the collaboration of the Valencia club.

The Spanish football disciplinary committee had decided to sanction Valencia CF with a partial closure of its Mestalla stadium for five matches and a fine of 45,000 euros. It had also annulled the red card given to Vinicius at the very end of the match.

These incidents had ignited the debate in Spain, where cases of racism have been frequent for several decades in football stadiums. They had also aroused indignation abroad, where signs of support had flowed towards the Brazilian striker.

A figure in the fight against racism in Spanish football, Vinicius Jr has been targeted several times in recent years by insults during sporting events. But only some of these incidents resulted in sanctions.

In June 2023, four ultra Atlético supporters, accused of hanging a mannequin bearing the likeness of Vinicius Jr from a bridge in the Spanish capital, were banned from stadiums for two years by the Spanish authorities. The criminal proceedings opened against them are still ongoing.