MOSCOW: Zenit St Petersburg are offering a glimpse into football anarchy after deciding to protest to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over a domestic disciplinary punishment for crowd misbehaviour writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The Russian champions’ intention also raises concerns about the atmosphere at the 2018 World Cup because it will be seen as suggesting that top clubs there condone the violent behaviour of local supporters.
On Thursday, the RFU’s appeals committee upheld a 3-0 win for Dynamo Moscow and ordered Zenit to play two home games behind closed doors because one of their fans was accused of throwing a firework which injured the Dynamo goalkeeper and prompted the abandonment of the match.
The match, on November 17, also led to the arrest of 53 fans. But clubs were fined $16,000 apiece for the crowd trouble at the Khimki Arena . Dynamo keeper Anton Shunin suffered burns to his cornea in both eyes and some loss of hearing.
A Zenit statement said: “Zenit feel that during the hearing, the appeals committee did not take into account all the facts, did not identify the person responsible for throwing the flare and also failed to prove that it was a Zenit fan.
“Therefore, Zenit intend to take their appeal to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
Zenit had already threatened to pull out of the championship, applying to play instead in the Ukraine league, in case of “unfair penalty”.
The penalty is a huge blow to Luciano Spalletti’s team in their bid to retain their league title.
Third-placed Zenit trail CSKA Moscow by six points after the league leaders held them to a 1-1 draw played behind closed doors in St Petersburg on Monday.
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