Valencia strongly condemned Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior on Thursday for allegedly saying in court that all of its fans racially abused him during a game last season.
The Spanish club demanded an apology from the player, who testified to a Madrid judge probing three Valencia supporters who have been accused of racially abusing the Brazilian international at the Mestalla Stadium in a Spanish league game in May.
The accusations ignited an outpouring of support for Vinícius and prompted local authorities to take action against racism in Spanish football. Valencia has already banned the three fans for life.
“In the wake of the information published regarding the alleged statement made in court by the footballer Vinícius Júnior claiming that the entire Mestalla Stadium had uttered racist insults at the match between Valencia and Real Madrid last season, the club wishes to express its surprise, rejection and indignation,” Valencia said in a statement.
The club at the time had already publicly condemned Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti for accusing the entire stadium of making “monkey” chants (mono, in Spanish) when it claimed that they were actually saying “silly” (tonto, in Spanish). Ancelotti later backtracked on his remarks.
“As coach Carlo Ancelotti himself publicly acknowledged, in no case can the behaviour be generalised to the entire Mestalla Stadium,” Valencia said. “The club is fully aware of the seriousness of this matter. Racism has no place in football or in society, but it cannot be combated with fallacies or unfounded lies.”
Valencia said the issue “requires the involvement of everyone” and understands that “we must be scrupulously precise and responsible in this type of manifestations.”
It said the club’s “fanbase cannot be labelled as racist” and “demands that Vinícius Júnior publicly rectifies his alleged statement made this morning.”
Court officials did not officially release information about Vinícius’ testimony. One of the lawyers for the Valencia fans spoke to local media.