FA escapes severe punishment

The British Football Association have escaped with little more than a slapped wrist for the crowd trouble at the Slovakian v England match in October after UEFA today imposed a £9,000 (€14,000) fine for fans’ misbehaviour.

The British Football Association have escaped with little more than a slapped wrist for the crowd trouble at the Slovakian v England match in October after UEFA today imposed a £9,000 (€14,000) fine for fans’ misbehaviour.

Europe’s ruling body were more severe on the Slovakians, fining them £27,000 (€42,000) for racist abuse of Emile Heskey and Ashley Cole and for the lack of organisation in the stadium in Bratislava, the second highest fine ever imposed by UEFA for racist abuse.

There were a couple of flashpoints involving England fans in the stadium during the European Championships qualifier on October 12 and at one point police waded in with batons.

The FA were aided in their case by the submission of a detailed dossier alleging local security staff allowed up to 2,000 ticketless or unauthorised England fans into the stadium.

The disciplinary panel last month appointed an inspector to look into the claims and though UEFA said the allegations were not entirely proven they did recognise the “considerable efforts taken by the FA to organise their supporters for away matches”.

The FA have until December 21 if they want to lodge an appeal but, with such an insignificant fine, that course of action seems unlikely.

FA spokesman Paul Newman told the Press Association: “We welcome the comments made by UEFA’s control and disciplinary body in acknowledging the efforts made to control our supporters during the game.

“They have also very clearly taken into account our submission on the responsibilities of the Slovakian authorities with regard to the organisation of the match.

“We will now be considering whether an appeal is appropriate.”

The punishment will hit the Slovakians much harder – for them £27,000 (€42,000) is a significant sum and only Italian club Lazio have been fined more for racist incidents.

It could have been even more severe but UEFA said the fine was mitigated “by the fact this was a first offence for such behaviour, that the Slovakian FA had expressed deep regret, issued personal apologies to the parties concerned and were now active in the campaign against racism”.

However, if such behaviour occurs again then they face being forced to play a match behind closed doors.

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