Tuesday, December 12, 2017

UEFA hits CSKA Moscow with supporter ban and fine for crowd behavior

The European Champions League announced on Friday that it will fine CSKA Moscow $250,000 for the behavior of its fans during a recent match against AS Roma.

CSKA Moscow fans will also be banned from attending the team's final two Champions League games of the season against Manchester City and Bayern Munich as the result of their recent acts of racism and violence, Reuters reports.

Fans of CSKA Moscow were found guilty of numerous incidences of racist behavior, crowd disturbances and endangering the public during the team's Sept. 17 match against Roma. During the game, CSKA fans allegedly chanted racial epithets and threw fireworks and other combustible objects at Roma supporters. Moscow fans began fighting with Roma supporters prior to the start of the game, leaving 13 Roma fans and four police officers injured.

"The European governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination on the field and in the stands," UEFA said, according to Reuters. "All forms of racist behavior are considered serious offenses against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions."

"Of course we are really upset with decision," CSKA spokesman Sergei Aksenov said. "Thanks to a few people, the festival of football that is the Champions League has been turned into a series of ghost matches...it's all very sad and upsetting."

Aksenov is willing to appeal UEFA's sanctions against CSKA Moscow, but is waiting for the league to release further information regarding the punitive measures, Reuters reports.

"It's a harsh punishment, very harsh, but it could have been worse," Russian Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko said. "Some clubs have been excluded from the Champions League."