UEFA sanctions Zenit in Russia racism case before World Cup
NYON, Switzerland (AP) UEFA has ordered Zenit St. Petersburg to play its next European game behind closed doors in another racism sanction for World Cup host nation Russia.
As well as ordering Zenit to play its Europa League qualifier in July without fans, the club was fined 50,000 euros ($58,400) for its fans' racist behavior, and another 20,000 euros ($23,400) for fans throwing objects and blocking staircases.
FIFA also fined Russia after fans racially abused France players with monkey chants during a game in St. Petersburg in March.
Zenit was previously fined over a banner honoring the convicted war criminal Ratko Mladic at a Europa League game in November.
Racist chants became more common in Russian soccer this season even as the overall number of racism incidents decreased, according to a study published last week by the anti-discrimination Fare Network and Moscow-based SOVA Center.