CSKA Moscow told to close part of stadium after racist abuse of Yaya Toure by fans
Uefa sack one of its officials over failure to implement correct procedures
Yaya Toure: was abused byh CSKA Moscow fans. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA
Uefa has sacked one of its officials after admitting its new anti-racism strategy was not properly enforced during the incident involving Yaya Toure that means CSKA Moscow will have to play their next Champions League game in a partly closed ground.
The inquiry into last week’s problems at the Khimki Arena has cleared the Romanian referee, Ovidiu Hategan, of any wrongdoing, having established that he did inform the fourth official there should be a public announcement aimed at the CSKA fans who had been targeting Toure.
The investigation, requested by the Uefa president, Michel Platini, discovered that the breakdown came when the message was relayed by the fourth official to the venue director, also employed by the governing body.
Uefa has not named the director but a statement confirmed he had “been relieved of his duties” while CSKA’s reduced capacity for their next home fixture in the competition, against Bayern Munich on 27 November, is intended to serve as a warning to the Russian club.
CSKA, City’s opponents in Manchester next Tuesday, have vehemently denied the allegations but will be made to play behind closed doors if there is a second offence, with a warning from Uefa that “the fight against racist conduct has been stepped up a level resulting in more severe sanctions”.
Hategan, like all Uefa referees, had been instructed to implement a “three-step protocol” if any players reported racial abuse, starting off with halting the game to make a public announcement. That did not happen in Moscow despite Uefa’s confirmation that Toure did approach the referee, after a free-kick was awarded in the 54th minute, to complain that he could hear the crowd making monkey chants.
“The referee and the additional assistant referee witnessed the inappropriate behaviour of a small number of supporters,” Uefa’s statement said.”
The referee asked the fourth official to request an announcement to be made to the public. The venue director [the Uefa officer in charge of football operations], who had not heard the chanting himself, did not activate the procedure. Tthe referee decided to resume the game with the free-kick.
“The venue director acted inappropriately, though in good faith, so causing the failure.”