[Man City’s Yaya Toure complained of racial abuse to referee Ovidiu Hategan]
By Aliya Padhani
UEFA has ordered CSKA Moscow to play its next Champions League match in a partially closed stadium following racist chants by its fans at Manchester City’s Yaya Toure.
Europe’s football governing body has also warned the Russian club it faces graver actions if an incident like this occurred again.
The Russian club was charged after the Ivory Coast Midfielder complained about the chanting during City’s 2-1 win on October 23
Toure said he was left feeling “furious” after hearing many Russian fans direct “monkey chants and noises” at him during the match.
“It’s not a nice feeling to go and play and football match, to bring joy to the people and to be called a monkey or to hear monkey noises. I am not deaf. Other people must have heard the noises.”
UEFA said tackling racism is a “high priority” adding that “all forms of racist behaviour are considered serious offenses against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions.”
However, Toure is unlikely to be satisfied with the punishment. In a post match interview Toure called on UEFA to “ban them for a couple of years.” He went as far to raise the possibility that he and other players may boycott the 2018 World Cup.
Among others to accuse UEFA of being too lenient is former Southampton player Matt Le Tissier who took to twitter to criticize the decision. “Wow. Partial closure of stadium for 1 match for racist abuse for CSKA Moscow! Those boys at UEFA are sooo tough!”.
While former Liverpool player Stan Collymore highlighted just how ineffective the punishment would be. “I’m a racist. I’m going to move to section E against Bayern … more Uefa clownery.”
Nonetheless, UEFA regulations state that a first racism offense should be punished with a partial stadium closure, a second incident of discrimination would result in a full stadium closure for one match and a €50,000 fine.
Any club found guilty of racism for a third time faces the prospect of multiple matches behind closed doors, forfeiting a match and the deduction of points or expulsion from a competition.
So far this season, UEFA has put into place full stadium bans on three clubs, Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia, Legia Warsaw of Poland and Honved of Hungary, for racist behaviour by their supporters while five other clubs have had partial stadium closures.
CSKA General Director, Roman Babev, accused Toure of “exaggerating” the incident which he says was handled in “real hysteria” by the British media.
He also accused the British media of embellishing the incident to make it seem like the “fans wanted to almost lynch the dark-skinned on the field… British do constantly try to find any reason to smear Russian football.”
Probed on accusations the ban is too lenient and on the effectiveness of closing only a section of the stadium, a spokesman for UEFA told The Muslim News they will make “no further comments.”
The Kick It Out told The Muslim News it “acknowledges the swift, decisive and proportionate sanction delivered by UEFA in accordance with its regulations.
“Yaya had the courage to raise this as an issue and we need to gauge if he thinks this is a satisfactory step.
“The other aspect of this is the viewpoint within CSKA Moscow. If the club deny there is an issue, this will prevent meaningful, lasting progress from being made.”