Rayo Vallecan’s Spanish defender Alex Galvez celebrates at the end of the Spanish soccer game between Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid at the Vallecas Stadium in Madrid’s Puente de Vallecas district on April 28, 2019. (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL / AFP)
A second division game between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete in Spain was interrupted at half-time on Sunday after Rayo fans sang songs in which Albacete's novel Zozulya was described as "Nazi".
The game was stopped during the first game period in Vallecas and then paused after Rayo followers sang "puta Nazi", which means "damn Nazi" in Zozulya, who joined Rayo in 2017.
A statement by Albacete said: "With the support of @RayoVallecano, Albacete Balompie and @LaLiga, the referee and @Ref, it was decided to suspend the game in Vallecas.
"A decision with the sole aim of protecting the values of the sport we love and our competition."
Rayo Vallecano wrote on Twitter: "Due to the repeated chants and insults in the first half of the game #RayoAlbacete, the game is suspended."
Zozulya moved from Real Betis to Rayo in 2017 but did not join the club after his ban was broken due to opposition from Rayo fans known for their political left.
The Ukrainian striker wrote an open letter to Rayo's followers in which he refused all ties to neo-Nazi groups. However, some fans attended his first training session with a banner that said Vallecas was "not a place for Nazis".
The game on Sunday was goalless at half-time, although Albacete was left behind after midfielder Eddy Silvestre's dismissal to 10 men.
"It's a very sad night for Rayo and the sport," said Rayo Club President Raul Martin Presa.
“We strongly condemn the insults that some of the supporters in the background brought towards an opposing player. We feel pain and shame after what happened. "
Presa said he spoke to Zozulya and "kissed" him because "he is human and deserves respect".
Albacete Vice President Victor Varela said he wanted to highlight "Rayo's exemplary behavior" in solidarity with their rivals.
"In the first half, friends told me that the player burst into tears and collapsed when he returned to the dressing room."
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