- Title: SPAIN: SOCCER - CAS halves Atletico fine, stadium ban stays
- Date: 21st November 2008
- Summary: MADRID, SPAIN (FILE) (REUTERS) POLICE IMAGES OF CROWD TROUBLE IN ATLETICO MADRID - MARSEILLE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GAME ON OCTOBER 1
- Embargoed: 6th December 2008 12:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVABLAFWGC1VDP3CGT03Z0SWNUST
- Story Text: Atletico Madrid President, Enrique Cerezo, reaffirms his stance over racism as UEFA reveals the sanction for the Madrid club over trouble during October's Champions League game against Olympique Marseille.
Atletico Madrid will have to play Wednesday's (November 26) Champions League match against PSV Eindhoven behind closed doors after sport's court of arbitration (CAS) partially upheld a punishment handed down by UEFA for crowd trouble.
CAS ruled that the sanction should stand because of "serious security breaches" during a Champions League match against Olympique Marseille in Madrid on Oct. 1.
However, it overturned a suspended sanction of a second match behind closed doors and cut a UEFA fine of 150,000 euros ($187,900) by half because it said there was not enough evidence to support allegations Atletico fans made racist chants.
On Thursday (November 20) Atletico Madrid's President Enrique Cerezo told Reuters Television the club has not committed any racist or xenophobic action.
"They only thing that is being sanctioned, or the only theme which is being sanctioned, is something very clear, but it's something that I don't understand, and that's there was no co-ordination between the stadium security forces and our own security in the stadium. Allowing a placard to be let in, that was the placard which the police removed because they considered it to have Nazi symbolism. They took it from the Marseille fans on the day of the game," Cerezo said.
He added that allegations of racism at the club has been disproved and that nothing of the sort had taken place.
"It was the reality, the truth of what happened. Neither in Atletico de Madrid, nor in it's stadium, nor anywhere near it, have there been any racist or xenophobic incidents."
In its original ruling, UEFA said failures in Atletico's organisation had prompted confrontations between Marseille fans and police and ordered them to play their following two European fixtures at least 300km outside Madrid, with a home stadium ban for a third game if there was further trouble.
Atletico appealed and the sanction was cut to one match played behind closed doors together with a suspended sentence of one more game played without fans. The fine was confirmed.
The club protested its innocence of all charges and took its case to CAS which ruled after a hearing on Wednesday (November 19).
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