Spain soccer game halted after fans’ chants

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish soccer league said Sunday that a second-tier game between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete was halted at halftime after insulting language was chanted by fans and used in a banner against a visiting player.

Some home supporters at Rayo’s stadium held up a banner that called Albacete’s Ukrainian player Roman Zozulia “a Nazi” and also used abusive language in chants directed at him.

The league said that both teams asked the referee not to continue the game at halftime when the match was halted with the score at 0-0.

Zozulia briefly played for Rayo in 2017. At that time some Rayo supporters said they did not want him on their team for alleged extreme right-wing political views, which Zozulia has strongly disputed.

“During the first half some teammates said that our player was crying and arrived to the changing room completely destroyed,” said Albacete club official Víctor Varela.

The decision on whether the game should be finished will be taken by the Spanish football federation. It was not resumed after halftime on Sunday.

“We don’t have any inconvenience in playing the final 45 minutes, as long as the safety of our players is guaranteed,” Varela said. “I can only say that the behavior of Rayo has been exemplary.”

Rayo club president Martín Presa said “we are ashamed for what has occurred.

“It is a very sad night for Rayo and for all of sport. We want to vehemently condemn the insults by a part of our fans.”

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