Linfield FC (Throwing of objects; field invasions by supporters), Decision of 20 July 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

As a reaction to the second goal scored by Celtic FC, the club’s players were celebrating at the corner flag in front of the North stand. Supporters of Linfield FC threw a plastic bottle and a cigarette lighter onto the pitch without hitting any player. In numerous occasions during the match, Linfield FC supporters threw items such as coins and plastic bottles towards the player, some of the items hitting the respective players. In the 73rd minute, a Linfield FC supporter jumped from the stand to pitch level but was immediately caught and pushed back into the stand by stewards. The club in its statements referred to the intensive security measures it implemented in such a high risk match, pointing to the fact that most of the incidents were a reaction to previous provocations by Celtic FC players.

Legal Framework Article 16 (2) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

Decision

With regard to the throwing of objects, the CEDB noted that a large number of object were thrown onto the field of play on several occasions. In particular, when a specific Celtic FC player wanted to take a corner kick during the match, the club´s supporters threw a large number of objects towards him, some of them according to the UEFA security officer hitting the player. The question as if those objects hit the player is irrelevant when assessing the responsibility of the club for the misconduct contemplated in Article 16 (2) (b) DR. The same stands as for the arguments referring to a previous provocation of the Celtic FC player, as well as for the pitch invasion which was admitted by the club. In view of the seriousness and multiplicity of the offences committed and the club’s previous record, the CEDB decided to order the partial closure of the Linfield FC Stadium during the next UEFA competition match in which Linfield FC would play as the host club, and, in particular Linfield FC shall closed South stand lower sector I of the stadium. In addition, the club is fined €10’000.

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

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

Members: Gea Tomás (AND)
Leal João (POR)
Řepka Rudolf (CZE)
Wolff Joël (LUX)

Linfield FC (Throwing of objects; field invasions by supporters), Decision of 20 July 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

In the 51st minute of the match between VPS Vaasa and Brøndby IF on 20 July 2017, the player Jan Kliment “[w]ith ball not in playing distance kicked the legs of the opponent player with violence” and was shown a red card by the referee for “violent conduct”. In its statement, the club presented an explanation from the player, stating that “[a]s I tried to run towards their goal, the opponent grabbed and held me for 3 seconds – and in the attempt to speed up I held my arm out and he fell to the ground”.

Legal framework Article 15 (1) (e) UEFA Disciplinary Regulations

Decision

The CEDB noted that none of the evidence provided by the club successfully rebuts this presumption of accuracy stipulated in Art. 45 DR. Indeed, the statement from the player does not even address the kick to his opponent. Based on the referee’s report, this is a clear case of the player trying to physically harm his opponent. Consequently, the CEDB decided that player’s behaviour during the Match constituted assault under the terms of Article 15 (1) (e) DR and needs to be punished with a three match suspension.

Chairman: PArtl Thomas (AUT)

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)

Luxembourg Football Federation (player’s eligibility), Decision of 13 July 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

By decision of the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body of 8 December 2016, the Luxembourg Football Federation player Dublin Yannis (the player) was suspended for the next three (3) UEFA competition matches for which he would be otherwise eligible. On 28 March 2017, the Luxembourg Football Federation played against the Football Federation of Kazakhstan in a European Under-21 Championship 2019 match (the match). The player was registered within the relevant player list, participated in the match and played for its full duration. The Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) decided that the Luxembourg Football Federation is responsible for the participation of a player whilst he had still pending suspensions violating Articles 43.01 and 43.07 of the 2017-19 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Regulations. In this context, in accordance with Article 21 (2) of the Disciplinary Regulations (edition 2016), the relevant match is declared forfeit. Consequently, as per Article 21 (4) (a) of the Disciplinary Regulations (edition 2016), the Luxembourg Football federation is considered to have lost the match 3:0. The club, in its appeal, argued that it never formally received the CEDB decision of 8 December 2016 regarding the possible suspension of the player and thus, the decision has to be regarded as null and void, having as consequence that the player was not ineligible at the occasion of the match against the Football Federation of Kazakhstan.

Legal framework Article 21 (2) and (4) (a) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (edition 2016). Articles 43.01 and 43.07 of the 2017-19 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Regulations.

Decision

On 18 May 2017, the CEDB decided to declare the European Under-21 Championship 2019 match Luxembourg vs. Kazakhstan played on 28 March 2017 as forfeit. The Luxembourg Football Federation is deemed to have lost the match 3:0. The appeal lodged by the Luxembourg Football Federation was dismissed by the Appeals Body and the decision of the CEDB of 18 May 2017 was confirmed. The Appeals Body indicated it was comfortably satisfied that the player was ineligible to play during the match against Kazakhstan, that the CEDB’s decision regarding the event triggering the ineligibility of the player was duly notified to the Luxembourg Football Federation, that in the hypothetical and unproven case that the Luxembourg Football Federation could not take note of the Decision, it was responsible for such circumstance and who should have made the necessary inquiry to UEFA.

Chairman: Pedro Tomás (Spain)

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

FK Crvena Zvezda (stairways blocked; doping control issues) - Decision 7 July 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

The UEFA match delegate reported that in the central section of the North Stand of the stadium, FK Crvena Zvezda supporters were standing and blocking stairways during the whole game, impeding the free flow of spectators. Also, it was reported that during the half time break the club’s supporters in the front row of the North Stand displayed a small flag featuring a portrait of Dragoljub Mihailović, a Yugoslav Serb general during the World War II involved in ethnic cleansing. FK Crvena Zvezda supporters also displayed a large text banner reading “Let babies be born, it is the message of the North [stand], we do not want Serbia to be a land of faggots”) and chanted the same slogan. Regarding the alleged homophobic message, the club stated that the violation was rather discriminatory than racist. The club denies the occurrence of the racist incident, arguing that an interpretation was given to the Mihailović banner which did not reflect the truth. Regarding the blocking of stairways, the club stated that the incident occurred solely on one tribune

Legal framework Article 14 UEFA Disciplinary Regulations and Article 38 Safety and Security Regulations

Decision

In the present case, the CEDB recalled that the fight against racism and any form of xenophobic behaviour is a high priority for UEFA. UEFA has a policy of zero tolerance towards racism and discrimination on the pitch and in the stands. With regard to the homophobic banner, the CEDB could not make any sense of which the club would point to the assumption that the incident was rather discriminatory than racist, when both behaviours would obviously violate Art. 14 of the DR. Regarding the banner showing Dragoljub Mihailović, the CEDB was however not convinced whether such banner was in fact racist or discriminatory, given that there were in fact several possible interpretations which could possibly be given to the banner. Bearing in mind the previous record of the club with regard to Art. 14 DR violations, the CEDB decided to order the partial closure of the club’s stadium during the next UEFA competition match in which the club would play as the host club, and in particular of the entire North Stand. Regarding the blocking of stairways, the CEDB decided that that a fine of € 8’000 is the adequate sanction.

 

Chairman: Partl Thomas (AUT)

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)

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)

FC Porto (throwing of objects; setting off of fireworks), Decision of 13 July 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

According to the official reports of the referee and the delegate of the UEFA Champions League 2016/2017 match between FC Porto and Juventus Football Club on 22 February 2017, coins were thrown at match officials by FC Porto’s supporters during the match and one coin actually hit the referee. It was also reported that fireworks were ignited on three occasions during the match, resulting in loud bangs. On 23 February 2017, the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) decided that FC Porto had breached Article 16 (2) (b) and (c) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations and imposed FC Porto a fine.

The club in its appeal stated that the delegate’s report contradicts the referee’s report, since according to the delegate’s report no coins were provided to him by the match officials and no coins were found on the pitch after the match. FC Porto also suggests that neither the delegate nor the referee knew what caused the loud bangs. FC Porto concludes that it was impossible for the standard of proof of comfortable satisfaction to be reached.

Legal Framework Article 16 (2) (b) and (c) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.

Decision

On 23 March 2017, the CEDB decided to fine FC Porto €17,000. The CEDB indicated being more than comfortably satisfied that coins were thrown during the match – in particular, since the referee himself actually describes being hit by a coin in his report. The CEDB concluded that the mere absence of the coins cannot disprove the accuracy of a firsthand account by the referee for the match which expressly describes coins being thrown. As to the setting off of fireworks, the CEDB noted that the referee and the delegate are both experienced officials having experienced multiple incidents of fireworks and considered that a simple statement from the club alleging other cause is not sufficient to disprove the accuracy of the official reports. The Appeals Body upheld the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body’s decision of 23 March 2017 and rejected the appeal of FC Porto.

Chairman: Pedro Tomás (Spain)

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

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