Football News

Valencia face criticism over club’s response to “blatant racist gestures” from their fans at Arsenal game

By Chris Smith

Published: 15:11, 3 May 2019

Valencia have condemned the supporters who appeared to be making racist gestures in a video found on social media following their 3-1 Europa League defeat away to Arsenal on Thursday.

Videos emerged at the end of the game which showed fans in the Valencia section at the Emirates stadium making Nazi salutes and monkey gestures toward Arsenal fans.

According to reports, six Valencia supporters were ejected from the stadium, although it is unclear whether or not they were the culprits shown in the video.

Arsenal have already released a statement in response to the incident which read: “We are working with Valencia on this. We utterly condemn such behaviour. It has no place in society or football.

“We continue to encourage fans to report incidents and to provide witness statements so effective action can be taken.”

Valencia later issued their own statement, expressing the club’s ‘strongest repulse and zero tolerance’ toward the images and those involved, as well as insisting they do not represent the club’s ethos as a whole.

Their statement translated: “In relation to the images in the stands of Arsenal stadium which appeared on social media networks, Valencia CF condemns publicly in a blunt manner and expresses its strongest repulsion and zero tolerance, as it has always done, towards the isolated gestures of people located in the visiting tier which, obviously, do not represent in any way the Valencianista support.

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“In contact with its legal services, we are working on the identification of the responsible persons to proceed, if they are supporters of the club, to take the corresponding disciplinary measures, for which it asks the cooperation of the rest of the spectators located in this tier.”

The Spanish club went on to add that they will be trying to ascertain whether or not there was ‘possible provocation’ from Arsenal supporters toward their Valencia counterparts.

The statement concluded: “Although these attitudes are absolutely unjustifiable in any case, the VCF is trying to obtain information, in the same way, on possible provocations prior to such verbal and gestural confrontation between people of the local and visitor stands.”

The wording of this final item has left Valencia open for criticism in its implication that any provocation could somehow mitigate racism.

Elsewhere, Kick It Out, football’s anti-racism campaign organisation, said: “These blatant racist gestures are shocking and inexcusable.

“We hope the relevant authorities identify the perpetrators and take the strongest possible punishment.

“There is no place for any form of discrimination in football or society.”