Panathinaikos (overdue payables), Decision of 12 December 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

On 8 November 2017, the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) Chief Investigator referred the case of the club Panathinaikos to the CFCB Adjudicatory Chamber due to the presence of overdue payables as at 30 September 2017. The club accepted the findings of the CFCB Chief Investigator, admitting the breach of Articles 65(1) and 66(1) of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (CL&FFP Regulations). The club states that the aim of the club is to survive, comply with its obligations towards its creditors and asking for leniency considering its critical situation without harming the objectives of the UEFA’s Financial Fair Play System. The CFCB Adjudicatory Chamber determined that Panathinaikos has breached Articles 65(1) and 66(1) of the CL&FFP Regulations because it had overdue payables towards other football clubs and in respect to its employees as at 30 September 2017. The CFCB Adjudicatory Chamber deemed that an exclusion from the next UEFA club competition for which the Club would otherwise qualify in the next three (3) seasons and a fine of €200,000 are appropriate penalties. However, considering the circumstances and particularities of the case, the CFCB Adjudicatory Chamber decided that the exclusion as well as half of the fine, i.e. €100,000, will be lifted if the club is able to prove having paid the amounts or concluded an agreement with the creditors with regard to the amounts identified as overdue payables.

Decision

The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) decided to exclude Panathinaikos from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it would otherwise qualify in the next three (3) seasons (i.e. 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons), unless the club is able to prove by 1 March 2018 that it has paid the amounts or concluded an agreement with the creditors with regard to the amounts that were identified as overdue payables as at 30 September 2017.

The club was also fined €200,000, from which €100,000 is suspended and will only fall due in case the club is not able to prove by 1 March 2018 that it has paid the amounts or concluded an agreement with the creditors with regard to the amounts that were identified as overdue payables as at 30 September 2017.

Chairman: José Narciso da Cunha Rodrigues (Portugal)

Vice-Chairmen:
Christiann Timmermans (Netherlands)
Louis Peila (Switzerland)

Members:
Charles Flint (England)
Adam Giersz (Poland)

PFC Ludogorets 1945 (Direct red card; stairways blocked; improper conduct of the team), Decision of 11 August 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

PFC Ludogorets 1945 supporters blocked the stairways and the emergency exit gate in ‘Sector A2-A3’ (behind the goal) throughout the Match. No effort was made by the club’s stewards to address the problem. Also, the club’s player Nascimento Da Costa Marcelo was dismissed by the referee for “violent conduct” after hitting an opponent. In addition, four yellow cards were issued to the club’s players by the referee. PFC Ludogorets 1945 stated that the incident involving the Player involved “no excessive force or brutality”, and argues that the offence should be considered only to be “rough play” or “unsporting behavior”. The club also provides a video of the incident.

Legal framework Article 15 (1) (e) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, Article 15 (4) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, Article 38 UEFA Safety and Security Regulations

Decision

The CEDB reviewed the video evidence and noted that the player hit an opponent on the head. This act is described in the referee’s report as “violent conduct”, and this report carries the presumption of accuracy. Further, the video provided by the club clearly shows the player hitting an opponent. Consequently, the player’s behaviour during the match constitutes assault under the terms of Art. 15 (1) (e) DR and needs to be punished accordingly, in the present case with a three match suspension. With regard to the blocking of stairways and the blocking of stairways, the CEDB deemed a fine of €13’250 to be appropriate.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

Olympique Lyonnais (improper conduct of the team; field invasion by supporters; insufficient organization; setting off and throwing of fireworks; crowd disturbances; stairways blocked), Decision of 13 July 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

According to the official reports of UEFA Europa League match between Olympique Lyonnais and Beşiktaş, several incidents were reported regarding Olympique Lyonnais, such as insufficient organization, pitch invasions, crowd disturbances, setting off and throwing of fireworks, blocking of stairways and improper conduct of the team. The CEDB considered that a very harsh sanction needed to be imposed on the club, considering the extreme violence which broke out in the stands. The CEDB emphasised that such behaviour tarnishes the image of football, of UEFA and the UEFA Europa League. The CEDB also took into account the positive previous record of the club pertaining to crowd disturbances and decided to exclude Olympique Lyonnais from participating in the next UEFA club competition, deferring this exclusion for a probationary period of two (2) years. The club appealed the CEDB’s decision, requesting that the exclusion from participating in the next UEFA club competition is set aside and an amount of fine is fixed according to the principle of proportionality. In its appeal the club accepted the breaches established in the CEDB decision, but stated that the CEDB did not consider the club’s degree of fault and the sanctions imposed were disproportionate. The club also held that its right to equal treatment was violated in light of the significantly lower sanctions imposed on other clubs in the past in alleged similar circumstances.

Legal framework Article 15 (4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR). Article 16 (2) (a), (c) and (h) of the UEFA DR; Article 37 and Article 38 of the UEFA Safety and Security Regulations

Decision

On 19 April 2017, the CEDB decided to exclude Olympique Lyonnais from participating in the next UEFA club competition, deferred for a probationary period of two (2) years. The CEDB also imposed a fine of 100’000 on the club. The Appeals Body upheld the initial CEDB decision and rejected the appeal of Olympique Lyonnais. The Appeals Body considered that the CEDB neither abused nor exceeded its broad powers of discretion and that the measures imposed comply with the principles of legality and proportionality. The Appeals Body particularly agreed with the considerations of the CEDB regarding the behaviour of Olympique Lyonnais’ supporters. The Appeals Body considered that although it is clear that having so many supporters of the Visiting Club in the stadium did not help matters but, the fact that there is a large away support at a match should never be used as an excuse for violent behaviour by the home supporters. In this scenario, the Appeals Body decided that, considering the specific circumstances of the case, a combination of a fine and an exclusion was clearly appropriate.

Chairman: Pedro Tomás (Spain)

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

Arka Gdynia (throwing of objects; setting off of fireworks; stairways blocked; insufficient organization), Decision of 22 November 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

According to the official reports of the UEFA Europa League 2017/2018 match between Arka Gydnia and FC Midtjylland on 27 July 2017, Arka Gdynia’s supporters ignited an extremely large number of fireworks and a cap of flare was thrown on the pitch from the South Stand by the home supporter. The UEFA delegate also reported that away fans standing blocked the stairways the whole match in lower sector. The Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) considered that the large number of fireworks during the match shows that the body searching was unsatisfactory. The CEDB decided on 17 August 2017 that a fine of €60’000 was the adequate disciplinary measure to be imposed on the club. Arka Gdynia appealed the decision stating that there are sufficient mitigating circumstances to impose a maximum sanction amounting to €30’000 or any other lower fine than €60’000.

Legal framework Article 16 (1) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations. Article 16 (2) (b) and (c) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations. Article 38 UEFA Safety and Security Regulations.

Decision

On 17 August 2017, the CEDB decided to fine Arka Gdynia €60,000. The Appeals Body decided to partially admit the appeal lodged by Arka Gydnia and thus, the CEDB’s decision of 17 August 2017 is amended and Arka Gydnia was imposed a fine of € 50,000 for the setting of fireworks, the throwing of objects and the blocking of stairways. The Appeals Body decided that the club must not be held responsible for an inadequate body searching during the match and dropped the charges for the insufficient body searching. The Appeals Body considered although is true that the high amount of fireworks ignited during the match speaks for a negligent attitude in this regard, the burden of proof that there was an inappropriate body searching lies on UEFA and the delegate didn´t mention that the body search was badly implemented. The Appeals Body considered that there might be other reasons allowing the entrance of fireworks inside the stadium.

Chairman: Pedro Tomás (Spain)

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

AS Monaco FC (Setting off of fireworks; Doping Control issue - Anti-doping reg), Decision of 20 July 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

Several pyrotechnical devices were set off by AS Monaco supporters during the match, some of which with smoke development. Also, the AS Monaco players Valère Germain and Benjamin Mendy who were picked for a doping control, did not directly go to the DC room but went to their dressing room instead. The club in its statements argues that Valère Germain doesn´t speak English and could therefore not understand immediately what the assistant doping control officer told him. Regarding the player Mendy Benjamin, he had to leave the field of play at the 55th minute due to an injury. The player got the treatment immediately in the dressing room and he was only aware about the doping control after he was told when he got out of the “cold bath”.

Legal framework Article 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, Article 6 of the UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations

Decision

The CEDB underlined that it is of utmost importance in order to ensure the functioning and efficiency of the UEFA anti-doping programme that clubs respect and follow the regulations and directives set out by UEFA and act diligently when implementing such regulations. With regard to Mr. Germain, the CEDB deems that the above arguments put forward by the club are not sufficient to mitigate the fact that the player did not report to the doping control station immediately after the match, stating that understanding the language it is normally not necessary when approached by someone with a bib containing the wording “doping” on it. Regarding Mr. Mendy, the CEDB noted that the player was injured during the match and was already inside the dressing room when the draw took place. Hence, the CEDB deems that here the responsibility laid on the side of the club who was not able to properly inform the player in a timely manner. Thus, the club bears the responsibility over the incident. Overall, the CEDB decides to fine Mr. Germain € 5´000. In addition, the club is fined € 7´000 for its responsibility deriving from doping infringement and the improper conduct of its supporters.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

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

Members:
Antenen Jacques (SUI)
Gea Tomás (AND)
Leal João (POR)
Řepka Rudolf (CZE)

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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