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Rayo Vallecano fined €18k, Albacete clash played behind closed doors for 'Nazi' chants

Roman Zozulia, Albacete
Roman Zozulya was the subject of

Rayo Vallecano have been punished with a two-game partial stadium ban and fined €18,000 because of the "Nazi" chants aimed at Albacete forward Roman Zozulya on Dec. 15.

The Spanish second division encounter at the Vallecas stadium was stopped at half time, with referee Jose Antonio Lopez Toca having already halted the game twice.

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Each time the match was delayed, the referee instructed for an announcement to be made over the stadium tannoy that the game would be stopped permanently if the Nazi chants did not cease.

It is the first time in the history of Spanish football that a match has been abandoned due to offensive chanting.

In his report, the referee said he also enforced the removal of a big banner that was in the stands of the home supporters which read read: "Avoid a Nazi wearing the stripe [Rayo's jersey]."

The Spanish Football Federation's Competition Committee ruled on Friday that the second half of the game will be played behind closed doors at a date to be determined and that Rayo were guilty of a "grave" infraction of rules regarding its disciplinary code as they had proof the chants and insults the referee wrote in his report had been verified.

Zozulya had joined Rayo on loan from Real Betis in January 2017, but protests from the club's Ultra groups led to the deal being cancelled because they accused him of having links to radical groups in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian forward vehemently denied those allegations and recently stated he is "neither a fascist, nor a racist, I only defend my country."

La Liga and the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) condemned the chants directed at Zozulya.

Rayo said they were embarrassed over the episode while president Raul Martin Presa expressed the hope that his club would avoid punishment immediately after the abandonment.

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