Atlético Madrid Handed a Three-Game Home Ban For Racist Taunts
UEFA has handed down a three-game home stadium ban against Atlético Madrid for fans' racist taunts directed at opponents. The Spanish club will have to play it's next two Champions League home games at neutral sites. The team could be hit with a third home date ban if another incident occurs within a five-year probationary period. In addition to the home ban, the team has been fined €150,000.
The punishment came as a result of crowd trouble earlier this month in a match against Olympique Marseille. During the game at Madrid's Vicente Calderon Stadium, fans made monkey chants aimed at Marseille's black players and hurled insults directed towards black journalists in the press box.
The team will have to play it's next two home games at least 300 km away from the Spanish capital. The suspension will affect Atlético Madrid's October 22 match against Liverpool. Liverpool management and fans seem more about the management the decision than Atlético Madrid, saying it will force the team and its fans to make last-minute travel arrangements to attend the neutral-site game.
"It is an utterly ridiculous decision so late in the day," chairman of the Liverpool Supporters' Club Richie Pedder told BBC Sport.
"We probably have three to four thousand fans going out to Madrid for the match. The flights will have been booked, the hotels will have been arranged, and now it's in tatters. What are they supposed to do now?
"I guess we're left with two options - change the destination of where the fans are flying in to, or to arrange coaches or some other form of transport from Madrid to wherever the new venue will be.
"But who does that? Uefa? The club? The fans themselves through the travel agents? It's a mess."
The decision comes on the heels of the Italian Football Federation's request that Italian fans stay away from Italian national team games due to misbehavior during a match between Italy and Bulgaria.