UEFA’s determination to crack down on racism will be put to the test again when it decides whether CSKA Moscow should play behind closed doors as a punishment for alleged racist chanting against Yaya Toure.
UEFA’s disciplinary board will meet this afternoon to discuss whether CSKA’s stadium should be partially closed for their next Champions League game because of alleged racist chanting towards Manchester City midfielder Toure.
Last Wednesday, during Manchester City’s 2-1 win in the Russian capital, Toure claimed he was the target of monkey chanting from the home fans inside the Khimki Arena.
The 30-year-old reported the incident to referee Ovidiu Hategan, and UEFA responded by charging the Russian club with “racist behaviour of their fans” the following day.
A seven-strong panel, headed by Austrian chair Dr Thomas Partl, will meet at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, to decide whether Toure was abused.
The hearing, which is held in private, will look at documentary evidence submitted by both sides.
Neither Toure, nor any representatives from the two clubs involved will be present.
It is understood that City have been busy compiling evidence from independent observers who were at the game to support their case.
A written submission from Toure and any City player who also heard the alleged chanting is also likely to form part of the evidence submitted.
The panel will also read evidence detailed in the report of UEFA’s match delegate.
Last season UEFA agreed to implement hardline punishments on racism after years of criticism surrounding their handling of the matter.
Under the new rules, CSKA will be forced to close part of their stadium for their next Champions League home game against Bayern Munich on November 27 if found guilty.
They also face an additional punishment in the form of a €50,000 fine.
So far this season, UEFA has imposed 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 imposed.
They are: Lazio (who were originally handed a full stadium closure but that was reduced on appeal), Polish clubs Lech Poznan and Piast Gliwice, APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus and Croatian outfit HNK Rijeka.
CSKA vehemently denied their fans engaged in racist chanting and insisted that they were totally against any kind of discrimination.
“We believe that the accusations of racism are unfounded,” the Russian club said in a statement on their website.
“CSKA has always actively fought and will continue to fight against racism.”
CSKA have also been charged with setting off fireworks on the terraces during the game.