Valencia deny Mestalla access to Vinícius documentary team

A crew filming a documentary about Vinícius Júnior have been denied access to Valencia's Mestalla this weekend for the player's first game back at the stadium since he was racially abused by fans there last season.

Vinícius was sent off in Real Madrid's 1-0 LaLiga defeat at Mestalla on May 21, 2023, having earlier suffered racist abuse from the crowd.

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Three people have been accused of making racist insults during the game, with Vinícius giving evidence via videolink in the ongoing case last October.

A Brazilian crew -- working on behalf of the streaming service Netflix -- have been filming a documentary about Vinícius in recent months and had applied for accreditation to attend the player's return to Mestalla on Saturday.

That request has been rejected by Valencia, LaLiga president Javier Tebas confirmed on Tuesday.

"These are decisions that the club makes, and they are very difficult to make," Tebas said.

"They have decided not to let the production company go in. I have to absolutely respect that. They are more involved in the day-to-day situation in Valencia, and for any of us who are far away to give our opinion on that situation would be a bit bold on our part.

"I think it [not allowing access to the production company] is a precautionary measure. In fact, I am going to be involved in the documentary and do an interview."

Sources told ESPN that the documentary crew had not been given a reason for their accreditation request being denied.

They were now considering which steps to take, sources said, including whether to film interviews around the game outside the stadium, although there were some concerns about the crew's safety, given the tensions surrounding the issue.

Valencia reacted angrily to accusations that the racist abuse of Vinícius was widespread around Mestalla.

The club threatened legal action after the Brazilian's teammate Rodrygo Goes echoed earlier comments by Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and said that "the entire stadium" had been involved.

Vinícius and Rodrygo both scored twice when the two clubs met earlier this season, in a 5-1 victory for Madrid at the Bernabéu on Nov. 11.

Information from ESPN's Adriana Garcia and Gustavo Hofman contributed to this report.