Closed stadiums and empty stands as UEFA issue racism sanctions

uefa flagBy Andrew Warshaw
February 19 - UEFA are continuing their crackdown on racism by ordering CSKA Moscow to play their next European home game behind closed doors. Apollon Limassol of Cyprus and the Serbian Under-21 team, the latter previously embroiled in racism accusations following a game against England in 2012, have also been handed partial stadium closures because of monkey chanting by supporters.

UEFA said that "multiple racist and far-right symbols were displayed by CSKA Moscow supporters" during a 2-1 defeat at Viktoria Plzen in the Czech Republic on December 10.

CSKA were already given a partial stadium closure after their fans racially insulted Manchester City's Yaya Toure during a Champions League match in October. UEFA's venue director for CSKA's Arena Khimka was later relieved of his duties for failing to stop play and issue a warning over the public address system.

"Due to the fact that CSKA Moscow had previous records concerning the racist behaviour of their supporters, they have been ordered to play their next UEFA competition match as host club behind closed doors," said UEFA.

Russia's 2018 World Cup organisers have pledged to eradicate discrimination but the latest incident will only serve to fuel concerns about what might happen in four years' time.

Serbia's under-21 team were sanctioned after the assistant referee heard monkey chants during a 2-2 draw with Belgium in a 2015 European Championship qualifier on November 15, UEFA said. The Serbian federation was ordered to close two parts of whichever stadium hosts their next competitive under-21 game and to place banners reading "No to Racism" over each section of empty seats.

Serbia's team captain must also read out an anti-racism statement from the middle of the pitch before the game, UEFA said.

UEFA said that Apollon fans directed monkey chants at Legia Warsaw player Dossa Junior during a Europa League match in December. Apollon, who failed to make it beyond the group stage, were ordered to close the stands either side of the players' tunnel at their next home match.

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