UEFA punishes Olympiakos, Zenit for fan racism

UEFA has punished Champions League participants Olympiakos and

Zenit St. Petersburg for the racist behavior of their fans by

ordering stadium sections closed at last-16 matches.

UEFA said the lower tier of the north stand at Karaiskakis

Stadium will be empty when Olympiakos hosts Manchester United on

Feb. 25. The section of Zenit’s Petrovsky Stadium where ultras

gather will be closed when Borussia Dortmund visits the same

day.

Olympiakos was punished for ”racist conduct of supporters” and

setting off fireworks during a Dec. 10 group match against

Anderlecht. UEFA fined the Greek club 30,000 euros ($41,250).

UEFA had charged Zenit for fans displaying a racist banner,

throwing fireworks and crowd disturbances at Austria Vienna on Dec.

11. Zenit was fined 40,000 euros ($55,000).

Zenit said in a statement that the club was threatened with a

stronger sanction because of the poor reputation of its fans.

”Due to the numerous violations by the club’s fans in other

UEFA matches, the commission considered the possibility of

implementing even more severe sanctions against Zenit, namely the

complete closure of the stadium,” the Russian club said.

The clubs can appeal the sanctions.