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SBD Global/June 18, 2012/International Football

UEFA Fines Respective Countries For Fans' Behavior At Euro 2012

Russia football fans have been accused of 'inappropriate behavior' at Euro 2012.
UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Football Association of England for the "inappropriate behavior of their supporters" at the Euro 2012 Group D match against Sweden in Kiev on Friday, according to the SUNDAY TIMES. The "inappropriate behavior" refers to an attempted invasion of the field of play by supporters, the organization said. UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body will discuss the case on Wednesday. If found guilty, the English FA is likely to receive a small financial penalty (SUNDAY TIMES, 6/17).

DISPUTED CLAIMS: In London, David Brown noted England fans have condemned UEFA's decision to take disciplinary action against the FA "after jubilant supporters leapt over a fence" during the Three Lions' victory over Sweden. Football Supporters Federation member Anne-Marie Mockridge described UEFA's move as "heavy handed." Mockridge added, "There was no attempt to invade the pitch. A small group of supporters just got carried away with the excitement. They returned to their seats when asked by the stewards." (LONDON TIMES, 6/17). The BBC noted the FA will challenge UEFA over the disciplinary proceedings. It is understood the FA "will submit written evidence to UEFA" ahead of the hearing on Wednesday. The FA will cite the report from the UEFA match delegate, which described the behavior of England fans as satisfactory (BBC, 6/17).

THE RUSSIA CONCERN: In N.Y., Michael Schwirtz wrote besides tossing a few firecrackers, pummeling some stadium ushers and brawling in the streets of Warsaw, "Russian soccer fans, it can be said, have so far been pretty disciplined" at this year's Euro championships. Soccer is "apparently inseparable from hooliganism," and over the years fans of various countries have made "brawling an ugly and occasionally deadly sport in itself." Now, Russia has "entered the fray." These days, preparation for a match in Russia "often seems like mobilization for war." Soccer officials from Russia "clearly have incentive to distance the country from misbehavior." Russia will host the 2018 World Cup, as well as the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Their WC event has been promoted by Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, as "an example of Russia's resurgence." More immediately, continued mischief at the Euro championships "could force officials to take further disciplinary measures" against the Russian team. So far, the worst many Russian fans at the tournament can be accused of is "excessive exuberance" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/15).

STRONG CASE: The Football Union of Russia (RFS) has been fined €30,000 ($38,000) for the setting off and throwing of fireworks by spectators, displaying of illicit banners and the invasion of the pitch by a supporter at last week's Euro championships Group A match against Poland in Warsaw. The case in question and decision do not have any impact on the probation period for the sanction imposed on the RFS following the incidents at their first match against the Czech Republic in Wroclaw. This means the six-point deduction is still currently suspended. The Polish Football Association has also been fined €4,000 ($5,000) for the setting off of fireworks by spectators at the match against Russia in Warsaw (UEFA). The AP's Graham Dunbar reported UEFA laid its first formal charges of racism at the Euro championships on Sunday, opening a case against the Croatian football association after receiving reports that fans made monkey chants at Italy forward Mario Balotelli. UEFA said Croatia is charged with "improper conduct" of supporters, including "racist chants, racist symbols" at a game in Poznan on Friday (AP, 6/17). In London, Matt Hughes listed the 10 cases UEFA's control and disciplinary body has had to investigate so far since the Euro 2012 started: June 9 -- Improper conduct of Russia fans during match vs. Czech Republic; June 10 -- German fans throwing missiles during Portugal match; June 10 -- Portugal delaying second-half kick-off; June 12 -- Croatia fans for throwing flares and missiles and pitch invasion; June 13 -- Poland fans setting off flares; June 13 -- Russian fans displaying illicit banners and pitch invasion by a fan; June 14 -- Germany fans setting off flares and throwing missiles; June 15 -- Nicklas Bendtner, of Denmark, probed for displaying unofficial sponsors on his underpants; June 16 -- Racist chants and symbols displayed by Croatia fans and flares; June 17 -- England fans attempt pitch invasion (LONDON TIMES, 6/17).
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