Manchester City in hot water as fans jeer Uefa anthem

Manchester City have been reported to Uefa over their fans’ continued booing of the Champions League anthem.

Disciplinary proceedings will now be opened by the European governing body and a charge could follow if it is deemed the club have a case to answer.

It is understood the matter was reported by a match delegate after the anthem was jeered by home fans prior to City’s Champions League victory over Sevilla at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Uefa is now obliged to consider the matter but this is standard procedure and it does not necessarily mean the club will be hit by sanctions. City have not commented following the development.

City fans have regularly booed the Champions League anthem over the past year in protest at the financial fair play punishment meted out to the club by UEFA in 2014.

City were fined €68m , hit with a transfer spending cap of the same amount and forced to limit their Champions League squad last season to 21 players rather than the regular 25.

Their disgruntlement with Uefa grew when a match against CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital last October was ordered to be played behind closed doors because of the behaviour of home fans. A number of City fans had already paid for tickets, travel and accommodation and felt they were being unfairly punished.

An organised boycott of the anthem was arranged in conjunction with Bayern Munich fans, who had a similar issue over a game in Moscow, prior to a game against the Germans last December. Both sets of supporters turned their backs during the anthem.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini this week refused to criticise supporters over the matter. Meanwhile, match-winner Kevin de Bruyne is hoping his momentum continues as the Premier League leaders travel to Old Trafford for Sunday’s derby against Manchester United.

He said: “I am very excited. These are the moments you live for as a player. Great games and derbies are the most important games for the fans.”

De Bruyne’s late heroics kept City on course for the last 16, although for much of the night it seemed they were second best.

Sevilla dominated possession and were slick and incisive. They opened up City on the right to take a deserved lead on the half-hour through the outstanding Yevhen Konoplyanka, who had earlier hit the woodwork.

City equalised six minutes later when Wilfried Bony’s shot took a big deflection off Adil Rami to beat Sergio Rico but the hosts still struggled to gain control.

Sevilla created numerous chances but proved wasteful in front of goal and City, who had been limited to counter-attacks, finished strongly.

Yaya Toure tested Rico in the last minute before releasing De Bruyne on the run that led to him burying a low shot in the bottom corner.

Defender Pablo Zabaleta said: “This was a massive step forward in terms of thinking about the next round and now we have a huge game on Sunday.

“Winning in that way at the end was a massive lift for the team and the fans. It was a fantastic finish from Kevin de Bruyne and a big three points.

“He is doing really well. His performance week-in, week-out is brilliant.”


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