UEFA Punishes Russians for Soccer Hooligans

Supporters fight at the end of the Euro 2016 match between England and Russia at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, on June 11, 2016

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) meted out punishment to the Russian Football Federation for the violence, racism, and use of fireworks by its fans inside a French stadium.

The punishment consists of a fine of €150,000 and a “suspended disqualification of the Russian national team from UEFA EURO 2016 for the crowd disturbances. In accordance with Article 20 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, this disqualification is suspended until the end of the tournament. Such suspension will be lifted if incidents of a similar nature (crowd disturbances) happen inside the stadium at any of the remaining matches of the Russian team during the tournament.”

The discipline stems from incidents on June 11, when Russian fans charged English fans at the conclusion of a 1-1 draw. But the troubles inside the stadium pale in comparison to the coordinated attacks on the streets and in the bars of Marseille, France. The French ready to deport 50 Russian hooligans in response.

UEFA notes, “This decision only relates to the incidents which occurred inside the stadium and are therefore under the jurisdiction of the UEFA Disciplinary Bodies.”

The discipline comes after allegations of a doping conspiracy among Russian athletes and bribery giving the Russians the 2018 World Cup. The nation’s critics say this makes them bad actors in the world of sports. The Russians contend UEFA inserts politics into sports by punishing a football team for sins they did not commit.

“What does this have to do with the team?” asked Russian Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko. “It is not guilty of anything.”

The remarks follow a controversial tweet by a member of the Russian parliament and national soccer official.

“I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting,” Igor Lebedev maintained. “Quite the opposite. Well done, lads. Keep it up!”


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