Valencia will appeal against their five-game partial stadium closure and hefty fine following the racist abuse aimed at Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jnr, calling the sanction 'unfair and disproportionate' - as the local press slammed the 'unprecedented' decision.
Vinicius threatened to leave the pitch in the second half of Sunday's LaLiga match at the Mestalla after being subjected monkey chants from the crowd and Real Madrid, who said the incident constituted a 'hate crime', filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General's Office.
In response, the club have been ordered to shut the Mario Kempes south stand, where the alleged abuse happened, for five matches and have also been fined £40,000 by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).
Valencia have slammed the decision, as have one of the city's local newspapers who insisted the Mestalla is 'not racist' and blasted the penalty as 'unprecedented'.
Valencia said in a strongly worded statement as cited by Sports Central: 'Valencia CF wishes to show its total disagreement and indignation at the unfair and disproportionate penalty imposed by the competition committee on the club with the closure of the stand for five games. ' Valencia CF wants to publicly denounce that in this resolution of the RFEF competition committee they show evidence that contradicts what the national police and LaLiga say. 'In addition, this sanction is based on evidence that the club has not been able to see and without giving us a hearing. 'Valencia CF has condemned, condemns and will condemn in the most energetic way any act of racism or violence. These behaviours have no place in football or in society and we will continue to act in the most forceful way to eradicate this scourge.
It added: 'For this reason, Valencia CF is collaborating from the first minute with the police and all relevant authorities to clarify the events that occurred last Sunday. 'In addition, it has applied the maximum possible sanction with the expulsion for life from our stadium to the fans that the police have identified for their racist behaviour. 'For this reason we consider that penalising and depriving all the fans who were not involved in these unfortunate incidents from seeing their team is a totally disproportionate, unfair and unprecedented measure against which we will fight. 'The fight against racism requires the real commitment of all the parties involved without using it as a pretext to incur serious injustices. 'Valencia CF will appeal to the last instance the closure of the stand, a sanction that it considers totally unfair and one more offence in the latest disciplinary decisions that have been taken against the club. Valencia CF asks for the utmost respect and rigour for our institution and fans.'
Valencian newspaper Super Deporte has also slammed the decision on the front page of this morning's edition.
Their headline reads: 'Mestalla is not racist and the closure of the Mario Kempes stands is unprecedented.'
They also wrote on their front page: 'Racism is a scourge that must be eradicated from football and society. 'The insults against Vinicius (or whoever) must not only be condemned but also persecute and punish the perpetrators, as Valencia has done well together with the police. 'You don't play with racism, hatred and xenophobia. That is why what to condemn is the instrumentalisation practiced by Real Madrid. The damaging bell over Mestalla, Valencia, and the entire city is completely intolerable. 'So Ancelotti's apologies are late because the damage has already been done. And the partial closure of the stadium is unfair and another grievance.'
The reference to Ancelotti follows comments from the Real Madrid boss in which he condemned the entire Mestalla crowd.
Speaking on Tuesday in a press conference, Ancelotti said: 'Spain is not racist, but there is racism on football pitches and this has to stop. He has gained more prominence and they see him as a sporting enemy.
If you have to apply the protocol, it must be done when the bus arrives at the stadium. He is not a provocateur and the insults are not an isolated case. I apologise because I said that there were 46,000 who insulted him and it is not true, but they weren't even one or two.'
He also said: 'Condemnation is not enough. This has been happening for a long time but still no action has been taken to put an end to this problem of racism. 'In England they don't insult you. They solved this issue a long time ago at the time of the ban from European competition. 'There are no police in the stadiums in England. Here it is like going into a war zone with police vans everywhere. They have taken drastic measures [in England].'
RFEF's ruling found 'sustained racist chanting throughout the stadium... turned the attacked victim into an aggressor'.
The decision was made by a three-person panel with a representative of the Spanish FA, Spanish Ministry for Culture and Sport and LaLiga.
Valencia have 10 working days to appeal to the Appeals Committee against the punishment.
It is the first serious sanctions handed down by the Spanish FA this season, despite the Brazilian winger being serially targeted with racism and hateful messages on 10 separate occasions.
This included racist taunts while playing against Real Vallodolid, death chants inside the Nou Camp and an effigy bearing his Real Madrid shirt being hung from a bridge by Atletico Madrid fans.
Mail Sport reported on Tuesday that UEFA have held urgent talks regarding taking a public stand against the racist abuse suffered by Vinicius Jnr.
As of Tuesday night, despite internal calls to do so, there was a reluctance from European football's governing body to publicly intervene into a matter that has shocked the world in recent days..