NYON: UEFA has fired a warning shot across the bows of football in Russia – less than five years years before it hosts the World Cup – by effectively labelling CSKA Moscow officials as liars over the Yaya Toure incident writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
CSKA had denied the Manchester City captain’s claim that he and other team-mates had been racially abused during the Champions League tie at the Khimki stadium last week.
That was in line with the denying and dissembling which has been standard practice from Russian officials at all levels, back to the World Cup bidding process in 2009 and 2010.
However, first UEFA charged the Russian club for the offence and followed up today by finding them guilty and imposing a partial stadium closure for their next home match in the competition, against Bayern Munich on November 27.
Both clubs submitted written evidence to UEFA’s control and disciplinary panel.
A UEFA statement read: “The fight against racism is a high priority for UEFA.
“The European governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination on the pitch and in the stands.
“All forms of racist behaviour are considered serious offences against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions.
“Following the entry into force of the new disciplinary regulations on 1 June, the fight against racist conduct has been stepped up a level – resulting in more severe sanctions to deter any such behaviour.”
A second offence of racial abuse concerning spectators could result in a full stadium closure.
Toure had complained to Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan when he felt he had been abused early in the second half.
Hategan was cleared of failing to observe the new protocol laid down for such incidents. Instead the stadium venue director has been sacked for not having a cautionary statement issued over the public address system.
City were last involved in such an incident in February 2012 when Porto fans directed racial abuse, primarily, at Mario Balotelli. The Portuguese club were later fined £16,700 by UEFA.