Football Club Zenit (Setting off of fireworks; racist/discriminatory behaviour), Decision of 7 December 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

Supporters of FC Zenit displayed from 75th to 87th minute a banner saying "Ratko Mladic - Hero of Serbia". In the 23rd minute, there was smoke on south tribune of the home-team supporters. In the 43rd minute, a firecracker was set off on the south tribune. In the 85th and 92 nd minutes, another massive firecracker were set off in the south tribune. None of these fireworks Impact on the game. The club explains the historical connection between Serbs and Russians, before further stating that the banner under scrutiny is not of a discriminatory, but of a political nature as it merely criticizes the decision of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The club further makes reference to related CAS jurisprudence, stating that from the perspective of a “reasonable observer”, such interpretation was obvious. Finally, the club states that the banner was displayed for 12 minutes.

Legal framework Articles 14 and 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

Decision

The CEDB had no reason not to believe the connection between Serbs and Russians, but could not make any assumption that the incident was rather political than discriminatory or racist. CEDB first emphasized that it is not bound by the interpretation or the comment made by the UEFA match delegate who had referred to the potential “political dimension” of the banner. Obviously, discriminatory banners can have an additional political dimension, which does not necessarily mean that such would make such banners only political. The CEDB acknowledged that one day before the match, the ICTY made its verdict in the proceedings against Ratko Mladic finding the latter guilty of 10 of the 11 charges, inter alia for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In view of such judgement, taking into account the crimes Ratko Mladic was found guilty of and which were particularly directed against the Muslim part of the relevant communities, the display of a banner which glorifies Ratko Mladic as a hero of Serbia, is obviously discriminatory with regard to the victims of the crimes committed by Ratko Mladic. Finally, the CEDB considered that the closure of the entire sector should be considered the appropriate and adequate sanction for the discriminatory banner. Regarding the setting off of fireworks, the CEDB decided that a fine of €10’000 was the appropriate sanction.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

Vice-Chairmen:
Berzi Sándor (HUN)
Hansen Jim Stjerne (DEN)

Members:
Antenen Jacques (SUI)
Gea Tomás (AND)
Leal João (POR)
Lorenz Hans (GER)
Řepka Rudolf (CZE)
Wolff Joël (LUX)

FK Crvena zvezda (Illicit chants; stairways blocked; throwing of objects; improper conduct of the team), Decision of 16 November 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

The stairways were blocked in the North sector, and after the final whistle when visiting players and coaches were leaving, between 15 and 20 lighters and one bottle were thrown against the tunnel - No one was hit. There was chanting from the home-supporters between the 28th and 32nd minute: UEFA is mafia. Finally, six cautions were awarded against to FK Crvena Zvezda. With regard to the blocking of stairways, the club stresses that it occurred only on one tribune, a tradition of the hard core fans and no intervention was done as a prevention of possible potential safety and security unrest. Regarding the throwing of objects, the club notes that it took all possible measures to prevent supporters from taking items inside the stadium and that the high number of spectators put together with the isolated incident and with a low number of objects thrown should speak for the efficiency of these measures. Finally, as regards the UEFA Mafia chant, the clubs stresses that it´s not illicit due to the fact that UEFA can’t be the damaged party and the judge at the same time, stressing that supporters might be unaware of the possible negative consequences for their. Finally, the club argues that UEFA itself is also more-and-more aware of the fact that, it is subject to some critical voices raised by supporters and that it would be simply counterproductive disciplinary enforcer

Legal Framework Article 15 (4) and 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations; Article 38 UEFA Safety and Security Regulations.

Decision

The CEDB however recalled that all incidents were admitted by the club. The club merely refers to its proper preparation of the match, not presenting any explanations which would undermine the presumed accuracy of the official reports. Regarding the chants and the club’s argument about the fact that UEFA is party accused and judge in these proceedings, the CEDB decided that the argument has no merit insofar. Finally, with regard to the nature of the chant, the CEDB has no doubt that the content is not fit for a sport´s event. CEDB can´t accept that anyone or any institution is compared to a criminal organization, such as it is the mafia, on the basis of a justifiable criticism. Having the above in mind, as well as the club’s previous record, the CEDB deems that a fine € 79´000 is the adequate disciplinary measure.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

Vice-Chairmen:
Berzi Sándor (HUN)
Hansen Jim Stjerne (DEN)

Members:
Antenen Jacques (SUI)
Gea Tomás (AND)
Leal João (POR)
Lorenz Hans (GER)
Řepka Rudolf (CZE)
Wolff Joël (LUX)

FC Spartak Moskva (Setting off of fireworks; throwing of objects), Decision of 21 September 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

In the 15th minute of the match, between 10-15 flares and Bengal lights were identified in the visiting sector of Spartak Moskva, followed by one rocket that was clearly fired from the stands in the direction of the pitch. The rocket followed the length of the pitch in direction of the center circle were the referee was positioned, missing the referee. According to the referee, the rocket missed him by approximately 5 meters. Following the incident, the match was immediately stopped for 2mins and 30 secs. In the 59th minute of the match, several red and white flares were again seen in the Spartak Moskva sector at the moment the away team scored 0-1. At the same time, some plastic cups were thrown on the pitch from the same North stands. The club argued that the incidents were caused by breaches of the host-team, allowing a large amount of unauthorized persons to get into the visiting sectors. Therefore, the missile which was shot into the direction of the referee was fired by a supporter of the club which was not among the club’s supporters who had received the tickets from the official ticket quota

Legal framework Article 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

Decision

The CEDB stresses that an act such as firing fireworks onto the pitch has to be regarded as particularly dangerous and as a malicious act of violence and hooliganism which has no place in football in general and in the UEFA competitions such as the UEFA Champions League in particular. The CEDB further emphasized that any potential misconduct from the match organizer does not discharge the club from its responsibility regarding the behaviour of its supporters. Moreover, the CEDB could not concur with the differentiation made by the club between supporters who had purchased match tickets from the official ticket quota allocated to the club and “other supporters”, who had purchased their tickets through other channels. Bearing in mind the long previous record of the club and the seriousness of the incidents, the CEDB considers that, as a warning to future events linked to the conduct of the club´s supporters at away matches, a strong sanction is required, and deems that 60´000€ shall be deemed as the adequate disciplinary measure. In addition, the club is banned from selling tickets it its supporters for the next UEFA competition away match.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

Vice-Chairmen:
Berzi Sándor (HUN)
Hansen Jim Stjerne (DEN)

Members:
Gea Tomás (AND)
Larumbe Beain Kepa (ESP)
Leal João (POR)
Řepka Rudolf (CZE)

KKS Lech Poznan (Setting off of fireworks) Decision of 17 August 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

It was reported by the UEFA match delegate that the KKS Lech Poznań supporters lit around 45 Bengal lights in the 47th minute of the match at the exact same time. The club stated that it is disappointed by the behavior of this small group of supporters, however underlining that the incident did not result in any significant disturbance of the game, such as game stoppage or reduction of the TV coverage and that none of these Bengal lights were thrown.

Legal framework Article 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

Decision

The CEDB referred to the principle of strict liability enshrined in Art. 8 and 16 (2) DR, noting that the club did not put forward any arguments in the present case which would breach the accuracy of the official UEFA report which expressly refers to the setting off of fireworks and is presumed to be accurate under Article 45 DR. The club merely referred to circumstances like that no major incidents derived from the ignition of the fireworks that are irrelevant for the assessment of the incident. The CEDB further recalled the previous record of the club, the very high number of fireworks and the potential risks created by doing so at the occasion of an away-match, and though that a fine of €30’000 and banning the club from selling tickets it its supporters for the next UEFA competition away match is the appropriate sanction.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

Vice-Chairman: Hansen Jim Stjerne (DEN)

Members:
Antenen Jacques (SUI)
Gea Tomás (AND)
Leal João (POR)
Lorenz Hans (GER)
Wolff Joël (LUX)

Everton FC (Aggressions by supporters against players, referees). Decision of 16th November 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

The referee of the match reported that he “he was told by the Lyon Goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes, that he was pushed or touched by a spectator from the home crowd in the brawl between players in minute 64.” The club stressed that it was not negligent in any way in relation to the organization of the match, stressing that it does not tolerate any form of aggressive behavior from the side of its supporters. The club also argues that it fully complied with all rules and regulations regarding safety and security at the match, particularly with regard to the deployment of stewards. In the incident at hand, the stewards reacted quickly and efficiently. Finally, the club held that the supporter was identified by the police and might be facing criminal charges as well as a life ban from the stadium.

Legal Framework Article 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

Decision

The CEDB on a preliminary note took into account the video footage of the incident from which it can be seen how the players of both teams engage in a confrontation behind and on the goalline, close to the stands behind the goal. During said confrontation the spectators who are sitting and standing at the scene, scream, yell and gesticulate in the direction of the players, while one home-team supporter who is apparently holding a young child on his arm throws a punch at one player from the visiting team. It goes without saying that such images are more than shocking and cannot be tolerated. The CEDB emphasized that in any case, there should never be a moment when players on the pitch engage in violent altercations, but this goes even more for spectators during a match. According to Article 8 DR, which stipulates the principle of "strict liability", and Article 16 (2) DR, which builds on this principle, a club is to be held responsible for the improper conduct of its supporters, even if it might not be at fault itself. In light of the foregoing, the CEDB decided that the club is to be held responsible for the improper conduct of its supporters in accordance with Article 16 (2) (h) DR and needed to be punished with a fine of €30’000.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

Vice-Chairmen:
Berzi Sándor (HUN)
Hansen Jim Stjerne (DEN)

Members:
Antenen Jacques (SUI)
Gea Tomás (AND)
Leal João (POR)
Lorenz Hans (GER)
Řepka Rudolf (CZE)
Wolff Joël (LUX)

FK Austria Wien (Improper conduct of supporters; setting off of fireworks; kit infringement), Decision of 10 November 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

Three incidents were reported by the UEFA match delegate: 1) Kit infringement: one of the players from Austria Wien had a track suit with advertising VERBAND on the back. 2) Incorrect behavior of supporters: In the 42nd minute a supporter managed to climb up on the roof of the fence of the South Tribune. He was taken by the police and kept by the police until the end of the match. He was fined by the police. 3) Setting off of fireworks: 4 Bengal lights were lit by Austria supporters in sector 3 in the South Tribune, behind the goal, when the players entered the pitch before kickoff of the first half, approximately 3 mins before the start of the match. The club admits the kit infringement and explains that the player was not aware of the information regarding clothing containing sponsors print. Likewise, the club admits that its supporter climbed the fence and held that, in the future, it will inform the stewards to pay special attention to ensure it does not happen again. Concerning the pyrotechnics the club noted that a great number of supporters entered the stadium without control from a part of the sector next to the away stand.

Legal Framework Article 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, Article 60.04 and 31.03 UEFA Kit Regulations, Article 55.01 UEFA Europa League Regulations.

Decision

The CEDB noted that all three violations of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations and the UEFA Kit Regulations were admitted by the club and it only remained for the Panel to find the appropriate sanction. In the present case, the CEDB identified and took into account the seriousness and multiplicity of the offences committed, the improper conduct of the club’s supporters, the kit infringement, the setting off of fireworks as well as the club’s previous record, noting that FK Austria Wien has already been punished for setting off of fireworks on numerous occasions. Overall, the CEDB deemed that a fine of €7’000 was appropriate for the setting off of fireworks and the improper conduct of its supporters, whereas a warning was warranted for the kit infringement.

Ad-hoc-Chairman: Hansen Jim Stjerne (DEN)

GNK Dinamo (Setting off of fireworks; racist behaviour), Decision of 25 August 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

The CEDB noted that the GNK Dinamo supporters displayed a banner in east stand with a "Celtic-cross". Likewise, approximately in the 46th minute into the game, several hundred of the club’s supporters started chanting “Mamiću, cigane, odlazi iz svetinje!” (Translation: “Mamić, you gypsy, get out of our shrine”). The chant was repeated several times during the 46th and 48th minutes into the game. Also six fireworks were lit by the club’s supporters. The club stated regarding the Celtic cross that this was the first time that its supporters have displayed such banner and that as soon as the UEFA Security Officer has noticed the banner and informed, the club’s security officer removed it. Regarding the chants directed against Mr. Mamic, the club explained that this is still used by the group of ultras as an expression of fight against the club’s ex-president, Mr. Zdravko Mamic and that this is not a case of classic racism.

Legal framework Article 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations; Article 14 UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

Decision

Regarding the Celtic cross, the CEDB that this is a symbol used by neo-Nazis worldwide and denotes “the supremacy of the white race”, i.e. a clearly racist symbol. AS regards the chants, the CEDB recalls that the Court of Arbitration for Sport already had the opportunity to examine the nature of this chant in the light of Article 14 DR. It concluded that the chant was of a racist nature. Briefly, supporters by using the term “gypsy” in an insulting manner denigrated hereby an ethnic group, thereby also violating Art. 14 DR. Since this case concerns a first infringement of Article 14(1) DR, the CEDB decided that the Club shall be punished with a partial stadium closure, as provided for in Article 14(2) DR. For the setting off of fireworks, the club was punished with a fine of €5’000.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

Vice-Chairman: Berzi Sándor (HUN)

Member: Larumbe Beain Kepa (ESP)

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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