Besiktas (throwing of objects; setting off of fireworks; crowd disturbances), Decision of 13 July 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

During the UEFA Europa League 2016/2017 match between Olympique Lyonnais and Beşiktaş on 13 April 2017 (the “Match”), several incidents involving both Olympique Lyonnais and Beşiktaş’ supporters were reported. The Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) considered it was established that Beşiktaş’ supporters ignited and threw fireworks towards Olympique Lyonnais’ supporters standing below their sector, causing the supporters to escape their sector and provoking a massive field invasion. Beşiktaş supporters created crowd disturbances during the match. The CEDB took into account that the club has been repeatedly sanctioned at away matches with significant fines and constantly warned about the grave consequences in persisting in this attitude. However, instead of an improvement, the incidents during the match in which the club’s supporters played a main role put in danger the life of spectators. The CEDB considered that the mere fact of throwing fireworks, which is inherently a dangerous object already for those lighting it, towards other supporters has no excuse. Added to it, the circumstance of throwing them from an elevated position towards spectators standing right below is definitely an aggravating circumstance. Also it caused an emergency situation by means of a massive field invasion. The CEDB decided on 19 April 2017 to exclude Beşiktaş from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it will otherwise qualify (exclusion deferred for a probationary period of two (2) years) as well as to impose a fine of € 100’000. The club appealed stating that the sanctions imposed were disproportionate because it did not take into account mitigating factors. The club also held not being responsible for the behaviour of “non official” supporters.

Legal framework Article 16 (2) (b), (c) and (h) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

Decision

On 19 April 2017, the CEDB decided to exclude Beşiktaş from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it will otherwise qualify. This exclusion is deferred for a probationary period of two (2) years. In addition, Beşiktaş is fine € 100’000. The Appeals Body rejected the appeal of Beşiktaş and upheld the initial CEDB’s decision and considered that the decision was not only justified, but the most lenient possible decision that could be taken in line with the applicable framework. The Appeals Body considered that the list of elements exposed by the CEDB constitutes enough basis for imposing the exclusion and the fine. The Appeals Body also established that the principle of strict liability applies regardless of fault and consequently, the club is responsible for any misconduct of their supporters, including the so called “unofficial” supporters.

Chairman: Pedro Tomás (Spain)

Members:
Michael Maessen (Netherlands)
Björn Ahlberg (Sweden)

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