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16 December 2019 00:35

Leeds United F.C. Marcelo Bielsa EFL Championship

Spanish game suspended after ‘Nazi’ chants

A Spanish second division soccer match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete was abandoned at halftime on Sunday after Albacete forward Roman Zozulya was subjected to offensive chanting from the home supporters, who accused him of being a Nazi. A statement from the league's organising body said it agreed with referee Jose Antonio Lopez Toca's decision to abandon the match, which it said was taken at the request of both teams, due to "grave insults and threats" made towards Zozulya. It is the first time in the history of Spanish football that a match has been abandoned due to offensive chanting. The game was goalless at halftime, while Albacete midfielder Eddy Silvestre had been sent off in the 45th minute. According to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, Rayo fans sang "Zozulya you are a Nazi" and used offensive language towards the Ukrainian striker, 30, who had a short-lived spell on loan at the Madrid side in February 2017.

"With the support of Rayo Vallecano, Albacete and La Liga, the referee has suspended the game in Vallecas," Albacete said in a short statement. "This decision was taken with one objective, which is to safeguard the values of our competition and the sport which we all love." A Spanish second division match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete was abandoned at half-time on Sunday after Albacete forward Roman Zozulya was subjected to offensive chanting from the home supporters, who accused him of being a Nazi. A statement from the league's organising body said it agreed with referee José Antonio Lopez Toca's decision to abandon the match, which it said was taken at the request of both teams, due to "grave insults and threats" made towards Zozulya. The game was goalless at half-time, and the Albacete midfielder Eddy Silvestre had been sent off in the 45th minute. According to the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, Rayo fans sang "Zozulya you are a Nazi" at the Ukrainian striker, 30, who had a short-lived spell on loan at the Madrid side in February 2017.

At his first and only training session with the club, Zozulya was given an angry reception by Rayo fans, who accused him of belonging to the far-right movement in his home country. Zozulya, who has denied ever belonging to far-right groups, immediately returned to his parent club Real Betis before signing for Albacete as a free agent in 2017. "With the support of Rayo Vallecano, Albacete and La Liga, the referee has suspended the game in Vallecas," Albacete said in a short statement. "This decision was taken with one objective, which is to safeguard the values of our competition and the sport which we all love." Rayo issued a short statement on Twitter confirming the game had been called off due to the "chants and insults heard during the first half". We want to categorically condemn the insults that a section of the fans directed towards an opposition player," he said. MADRID: A second division match in Spain between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete was suspended at half-time on Sunday after Rayo fans sang songs calling Albacete's Roman Zozulya a "Nazi". The game was stopped during the first period at Vallecas and then suspended at the interval after Rayo supporters had chanted "puta Nazi", meaning "<expletive> Nazi" at Zozulya, who joined Rayo on loan in 2017. An Albacete statement read: "With the backing of @RayoVallecano, Albacete Balompie and of @LaLiga, the referee and the @rfef, it has been decided to suspend the game in Vallecas. "A decision made with the sole objective of safeguarding the values of the sport we love and our competition." Rayo Vallecano wrote on Twitter: "Due to the repeated chants and insults made during the first half of the #RayoAlbacete game, the match is suspended." Zozulya joined Rayo on loan in 2017 from Real Betis but never made an appearance for the club after his spell was cut short due to opposition from Rayo fans, who are renowned for being politically left-wing. The Ukraine forward wrote an open letter to Rayo's supporters denying any links to neo-Nazi groups but some fans still attended his first training session with a banner that read Vallecas was "not a place for Nazis". Sunday's game was goalless at halftime, although Albacete were down to 10 men after their midfielder Eddy Silvestre had been sent off.