UEFA, the governing body for European soccer, imposed a partial closure of CSKA Moscow’s stadium on Wednesday, following racist chants directed at Manchester City’s Yaya Toure during a Champions League match last week.
The Russian club will be forced to close Sector D of Arena Khimki for the club’s next Champions League home match against Germany’s Bayern Munich on Nov. 27.
“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,” UEFA said (via AFP.)
Toure, who is from the Ivory Coast, said he was the target of monkey chants during Manchester City’s 2-1 Group D win in Moscow last Wednesday.
CSKA Moscow has denied the allegations and said (via the club’s Web site) that it is “surprised and disappointed by the statements of … Yaya Toure and other members of the English Club,” while insisting that chants were just boos and whistles directed at Manchester City.
The statement also quotes CSKA Moscow striker Seydou Doumbia, also from the Ivory Coast, as saying ““I’ve heard nothing of this from our fans. Yes, they are noisy and try to put maximum pressure on the opponent, but they make no racist chants. So my fellow Cote d’Ivoire international has obviously overreacted a little bit.”
Under UEFA’s new anti-racism regulations, the referee must stop a match and issue a warning over the public address system, which did not happen in the match, in the event of racist chants. Additionally a second offense of racial abuse could result in a full stadium closure.
UEFA president Michael Platini has asked why Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan allowed play to continue and the governing body concluded that the venue director, the UEFA officer in charge of football operations, had not heard the chanting and therefore did not request a public announcement.
“The conclusion of the investigation is therefore that the referee had correctly triggered the first step of the procedure by requesting the stadium announcement. The venue director acted inappropriately, though in good faith, so causing the failure in the activation of the first step of the standard procedure, as decided by the referee,” UEFA said (via AFP.)