NYON: The continuing failure of 2018 World Cup host Russia to rid its own game of racism has been underlined again after UEFA ordered CSKA Moscow to play their next three Champions League home games behind closed doors writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The European federation’s latest punishment was for a series of offences by their fans, at home and away, and including racist chanting. Their fans will also be formally barred from attending their remaining two away Champions League group games.
Their next opponents, home and away, are Manchester City.
CSKA were found guilty of racist chanting during last season’s Champions League, including one highlighted in a complaint by Yaya Toure when City and CSKA met last in October 2013.
But at this season’s Champions League opener at Roma on 17 September, there was further trouble when Russian supporters were involved in disruption with the local police and threw flares inside the Stadio Olimpico during their 5-1 defeat.
The Moscow club, who have also been fined £156,900, had already played this week’s Champions League home match against Bayern Munich behind closed doors as punishment for their fans’ racist behaviour last season.
This time around UEFA found CSKA’s supporters guilty of several offences, including “racist behaviour of supporters, crowd disturbance, setting off/throwing of fireworks and missiles.”
Senior Russian officials, including Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko who is also a FIFA executive committee member, insisted during the World Cup bid canmpaign that plans were in hand to deal with racist behaviour by fans.
The CSKA incidents plus those in domestic competition recently involving Hulk and Christopher Samba underline the failure of whatever those plans entailed.
The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has taken the following decision after incidents at the UEFA Champions League matchday one group E match between AS Roma and PFC CSKA Moskva (5-1) played on 17 September in Italy.
PFC CSKA Moskva
Incidents: Racist behaviour of supporters (Article 14, UEFA Disciplinary Regulations); crowd disturbance (Article 16(2h), DR); setting off/throwing of fireworks and missiles (Article 16(2b&c) DR)
Sanction: PFC CSKA Moskva has been ordered to play its next three (3) UEFA competition matches as host club behind closed doors. The Russian team has also been fined €200,000. In addition, PFC CSKA Moskva is banned from selling tickets to its supporters for the next UEFA Champions League 2014/2015 group stage competition matches which the club will play as the visiting team.
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 field 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 new disciplinary regulations in June 2013, the fight against racist conduct has been stepped up a level – resulting in stricter penalties to deter any such behaviour.