UEFA impose partial closure on CSKA stadium

UEFA has imposed a partial stadium closure on CSKA Moscow following the racist behaviour of their fans, the European governing body has announced.

CSKA Moscow Fans

The Russian club's supporters were found guilty of racially abusing Manchester City's Yaya Toure during the Champions League game between the two clubs at the Arena Khimki last week.

The sanction will apply to CSKA's next home match in the competition, against Bayern Munich on November 27, and will see section D of the stadium closed.

Toure complained that he was subjected to monkey chants from a section of supporters during the second half of the Group D fixture, which City won 2-1.

CSKA vehemently denied Toure's claims but UEFA has taken a different view following a private hearing of their control and disciplinary body at headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

UEFA believes the punishment marks a step up in the fight against discrimination, having been criticised for fines widely considered as inadequate in previous years.

Under new regulations, introduced this summer, a second such offence could result in a full stadium closure and sanctions for third include match forfeitures, points deductions and even disqualification from a competition.

A 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."

Toure, who captained City on the night, complained to Romanian referee referee Ovidiu Hategan when he felt he had been abused early in the second half.

There were later further apparent incidences of monkey-chanting when the Ivory Coast international had been in possession.

CSKA said they were "surprised and disappointed" by Toure's claims, which they believed were "unfounded".

But City backed their player and submitted a formal complaint to UEFA, which they followed up by submitting a folio of evidence including witness statements.

Toure was so upset about the incident that, after the game, he even raised the possibility of a player boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia if the issue was not tackled.

He said: "If we aren't confident at the World Cup, coming to Russia, we don't come."

He added: "I want to see UEFA do something and take some action.

"We have to be as strong as possible otherwise they will continue like that.

"Maybe they could ban the stadium, I don't know, for a couple of years or a couple of months."

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.

City and CSKA, who meet again in their next Group D fixture at the Etihad Stadium next week, are yet to issue a response to the verdict.

UEFA has also not yet revealed the outcome of an internal investigation into why referee Hategan did not follow correct procedure.

Under guidelines issued in 2009, officials are supposed to report a complaint of spectator racial abuse from a player to the stadium's safety officer.

A public announcement should then be made warning fans to desist.

If the problem continues the referee can then suspend the match for a period or even, if it still does not stop, abandon it altogether.

In this incidence Hategan did not report the matter to the safety officer.



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