JENSON: No way back for Spanish football after Valencia punishment
PETE JENSON: Spanish football cannot slide back into tribalism after the book was thrown at Valencia for racial abuse of Vinicius Jnr… if five-match part-stadium ban is seen as the norm, then things will change for the better
- Mestalla stand has been ordered to close for five games with club fined £40,000
- It must set a precedent in Spanish football with the punishment seen as the norm
- If the punishment for Valencia is accepted, then things will change for the better
There could be no way back now for Spanish football after part of Valencia’s stadium was shut for five games – providing it doesn’t slide back into club tribalism and whataboutery.
The next time the racist abuse aimed at Vinicius on Sunday is repeated the Spanish FA will have to act with the same speed and severity of punishment and hand out the same length of ban.
What can’t be allowed to happen is that each club fights its own corner instead of offering a united front in the fight against racism.
One Spanish radio pundit on Wednesday night fumed: Match fixing, doping in cycling, Barcelona hiring a head of referees, and there is no punishment.
In this country in sport no one gets banned for anything. We have to have the courage to ban when a ban is necessary.
There could be no way back now for Spanish football after part of Valencia’s stadium was shut for five games over the racial abuse some of their fans directed at Real Madrid star Vinicius Jnr
The Spanish FA has ordered the Mario Kempes Stand to be closed for five games and have fined Valencia £40,000 for the disgraceful actions of their fans
This must set a precedent in Spanish football with the punishment now seen as the norm
Marca went down the same road with its front page on Wednesday calling the sea-change created by the Vinicius abuse on Sunday ‘an end to impunity’.
Spain knows its reputation has been put on the line and the consequences could go as far as affecting its World Cup 2030 bid.
But what could derail a genuine desire for change is for things to slide back towards tribalism and whataboutery.
Valencia have not taken the ban well when the option was there to accept it and ask for the same line to be taken with the next culprits. But Valencia are not the only ones.
Real Madrid used the race storm to complain about referees and when Vinicius’ red card was overruled after a seven-hour meeting on Wednesday that delayed the decision until late into the night other clubs were up in arms.
Xavi said in his post-match press conference: ‘I am surprised that Vinicius’ red card was withdrawn; there was an assault and that is undeniable.’
Others claimed it was a ‘dangerous precedent’ changing a decision because of a VAR error (the whole sequence was not shown to the referee) and others claimed instead of taking away the red card, the aggression that led to the retaliation should also be punished with a red card for Hugo Duro.
Players and match officials hold a banner reading ‘Racists, out of football’ at half-time during Tuesday’s LaLiga clash between Real Valladolid and Barcelona
If the punishment for Valencia is accepted and now seen as the norm – the go-to measure taken in every case, then things will change for the better
One Barcelona pundit even tried to turn the focus on Vinicius holding two fingers up as he left the pitch to indicate that Valencia were going down to the second division.
Carlo Ancelotti referenced the ban on English clubs from European football as being a turning point in the way spectator behaviour was tackled. That punishment was accepted despite it affecting clubs who were not responsible.
If the punishment for Valencia is accepted and now seen as the norm – the go-to measure taken in every case, then things will change for the better.
Vinicius will not play tonight against Rayo Vallecano. But he could be back on the pitch away to Sevilla at the weekend and Spain knows the world of football will be watching and listening.
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