USA star Yunus Musah insists not all Valencia fans can ‘be labeled as racist’ after claiming that he ‘wasn’t shocked’ by the abuse directed at Vinicius Jr. at the LaLiga club’s stadium
- Yunus Musah claimed his comments about fans may have been misinterpreted
- The LaLiga side was sanctioned after Vinicius was targeted by some supporters
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USA star Yunus Musah took to Twitter to insist that he was not branding the entirety of Valencia’s fanbase racist after claiming he wasn’t surprised to find racism in LaLiga.
The American midfielder, who plays for Spanish side Valencia, recently told The Guardian that he ‘wasn’t shocked’ by the racist treatment of Real Madrid and Brazil star Vincius Jr. by some fans of his club in May.
Some Valencia supporters sparked outrage last month when racist abuse was directed at Vinicius on the pitch at Mestalla during a match between Valencia and Real Madrid.
Musah, who has played for Valencia for three seasons, admitted he wasn’t surprised by the abuse as he had witnessed it happen in the Spanish top-flight before.
‘Honestly, I wasn’t shocked, because I’ve seen a lot of that stuff happen a lot before,’ Musah told The Guardian Tuesday. ‘Not in our stadium, but around La Liga. So I wasn’t really surprised. Which is sad, because, it’s just really shouldn’t be normal.’
Yunus Musah (L) said he ‘wasn’t surprised’ by the racist abuse directed at Vinicius Jnr. (R)
The USA star has since insisted he was not branding the entirety of Valencia’s fanbase racist
However, the US international took to Twitter following the publication of his interview with the outlet, claiming his comments may have been misconstrued about the Valencia die-hards.
In a statement shared to his profile, Musah wrote: ‘I want to clarify the statement to The Guardian where my words may have been misinterpreted for our Mestalla and Valencia CF fans, whom I respect and want to thank for the support they have always given me.
‘When I speak of racist behavior it is of a few fans that must be eradicated from football.
‘The club acted very quickly and this is the way to tackle the problem. Mestalla is not a racist stadium and Valencianismo cannot be labeled as racist. TOGTHER AGAINST RACISM!’
The LaLiga side were sanctioned after Vinicius was targeted by Valencia supporters during Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at the Mestalla, with the ground ordered to be partly closed for five games. A fine of €45,000 ($49,000/£39,000) was imposed.
Vinicius threatened to walk off the pitch during the second half of the match after being subjected to monkey chants and Madrid, who labelled the incident a ‘hate crime’, filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.
However, Valencia launched an appeal against the closure, describing it as ‘unfair and disproportionate’. The local press also hit out at the ‘unprecedented’ decision.
The club were initially instructed to shut the Mario Kempes south stand, the location of the abuse, for five matches – although was later watered down to three. The fine total was also reduced to €27,000 ($29,000/£23,000).
The supporters, all of whom are between the ages of 18 and 21, were detained by police earlier this week in connection with the incident, with a court in Valencia opening a probe into the alleged racist episode that saw the match halted.
Vinicius threatened to walk off the pitch during the second half of the match in May
Vinicius was targeted by Valencia supporters with racial abuse during Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat
Valencia were instructed to shut the Mario Kempes south stand of the Mestalla stadium down
But Valencia continued to stand firm against the wider allegations.
Since the incident, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has insisted that a ‘zero tolerance’ approach must be taken to racism and has called for referees at all levels to stop matches if incidents occur.
Infantino, who met Vinicius to discuss the problem after the Brazil international spoke out after being targeted this season, labelled the racists ‘criminals’ and said football authorities had to ‘shoulder responsibility’.
Infantino said FIFA would set up a task force, with Vinicius taking a prominent role, to make specific recommendations.