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SBD Global/October 31, 2013/International Football

UEFA Orders Partial Closure Of CSKA Moscow Stadium Following Racist Chants

UEFA has ordered the partial closure of CSKA Moscow's stadium after finding its supporters "guilty of racially abusing Yaya Toure," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. CSKA "will be forced to close Sector D of the Arena Khimki" during its next Champions League home match against Bayern Munich on Nov. 27. Announcing the verdict of its control and disciplinary body, UEFA said in a statement, "The fight against racism is a high priority for UEFA. The European governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination on the pitch and in the stands." It remains to be seen whether CSKA appeal the verdict, having controversially denied its fans had racially abused Toure, insisting that they "had merely directed boos and whistles at him and other City players" (TELEGRAPH, 10/30). The TELEGRAPH also reported FIFA Communications Dir Walter De Gregorio believes that "some criticism of Qatar's human rights record is hypocritical, and questioned if the contentious Guantanamo Bay prison should similarly be taken into consideration" when the U.S. is bidding for the World Cup. At the Play the Game conference in Denmark, De Gregorio asked where do you "draw the line" when weighing up a country's human rights record before deciding it can host the World Cup. De Gregorio said, "Guantanamo Bay, do you have to take that into consideration, would the U.S. be a candidate?" (TELEGRAPH, 10/30).

EXPANSION 'UNLIKELY': INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw wrote FIFA and Russia's 2018 World Cup organizers "have joined forces" to play down UEFA President Michel Platini's idea of expanding the World Cup to 40 teams. During a visit to the Russian World Cup host city of Kazan for a meeting with local organizing committee bosses, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said, "Never say never, but it's unlikely." Russian Sports Minister, 2018 LOC Chair and FIFA exec committee member Vitaly Mutko suggested that Platini's comments, which were directed toward Russia being the first World Cup to embrace possible enlargement, "were disrespectful." Mutko: "FIFA will take the final decision, but it's unrealistic to change the demands when we've already got to the stage of discussing the calendar" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/30).
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