'Shocking and inexcusable': Valencia fans condemned for Nazi salutes and monkey gestures at Arsenal
A section of Valencia's traveling support has been widely condemned after being shown making Nazi gestures and monkey gestures at Arsenal supporters during Thursday night's UEFA Europa League semi-final first-leg tie in London.
Valencia themselves issued a statement distancing themselves from the actions of a small group of fans in their section, saying they aren't representative of their fanbase as a whole.
"Valencia publicly condemns and expresses its firmest rejection and zero tolerance for, as it has always done, the isolated gestures from people in the away end which evidently do not represent Valencia's supporters," the statement read.
But further comment from the club has angered British anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, with Valencia stating that they were investigating to see if the fans who made the racist gestures had been provoked by Arsenal fans.
"Although these attitudes are absolutely unjustifiable in any case, Valencia Football Club is trying to obtain information, in the same way, about possible provocations, prior to the said verbal and gestural confrontation, between people from the local and visitor stands," said the club's statement.
But Kick It Out reacted strongly to Valencia's statement, with a spokesman saying: "Racist behavior cannot be justified, whatever the provocation.
"To suggest otherwise casts a doubt on the sincerity of calling such behavior 'absolutely unjustifiable'."
Racist behaviour cannot be justified, whatever the provocation. To suggest otherwise casts a doubt on the sincerity of calling such behaviour ‘absolutely injustifiable’.https://t.co/ogubpOfmxm— Kick It Out (@kickitout) May 3, 2019
"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."
The governing body of European football, UEFA, has said it is currently reviewing reports from the game, which Arsenal won 3-1 thanks to goals from two black players, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Earlier in the season Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling hit out at footballing authorities for failing to adequately combat racism within the game.
Chelsea took action against some of their supporters identified as responsible for chants aimed at Liverpool's Mo Salah, while UEFA have previously fined the Montenegro FA $22,000 after fans racially abused black England players during England's 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win.Also on rt.com Arsenal 3-1 Valencia: Lacazette and Aubameyang hit the target as Gunners claim crucial advantage