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)

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)

Hapoel Beer Sheva – Shir Tzedek (Doping), Decision of 7th December 2017, UEFA Decision

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Circumstances of the case

On 22 August 2017, the Hapoel Beer Sheva player, Mr Shir Tzedek (the “Player”) underwent a doping control test after the UEFA Champions League match between Hapoel Sheva and NK Maribor. The analysis of the Player’s A sample revealed the presence of a substance called “octopamine”. In conformity with the WADA Prohibited List 2017, the above substance is prohibited in-competition under the category S6.b Specified Stimulants. On 22 September 2017, UEFA notified the player of this finding and of the fact that this may result in a possible antidoping rule violation. On 2 October 2017, disciplinary proceedings were instigated by UEFA against the player for Doping Offences (Art.13 DR). On 19 October 2017, UEFA confirmed to the player that the CEDB accepted the player’s voluntary provisional suspension.

Legal framework Article 2 (1) (a) of the UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations

Decision

The CEDB recognized that the player committed some mistakes with regard to the use of supplements, however due to his own limitation he had to rely on the experts of his club which seemed reasonable in this case. The CEDB considered that the starting suspension in this case should be 12 months suspension due to a normal degree of fault from an objective perspective. The CEDB then examined the jurisprudence and the mitigating subjective factors in this case to determine if a lower suspension was justified. The supplement concerned sold in Israel were not supposed to contain octopamine, however the company responsible for manufacturing and packing the product in question recognized that it is was possible that some bottles were mislabelled and contained octopamine. It was also recognized that the club expert failed in its obligation to check the product and the player had reason to believe he was safe using the product because he did not test positive at a prior test. In view of the above, the CEDB decided to suspend Mr Tzedek Shir for a period of eight (8) months from 19 October 2016, commencement date of his voluntary provisional suspension.

Ad-hoc Chairman: Hansen Jim Stjerne (DEN)

Vice-Chairman: Berzi Sándor (HUN)

Member: Antenen Jacques (SUI)


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