Russia given Euro 2016 'suspended disqualification'
Dave Raish (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)
June 14, 2016
Europe's governing football body has said Russia will be disqualified from Euro 2016 if there are further issues with crowd violence. The decision follows fan clashes at a match between Russia and England.
UEFA announced the punishment in a statement on Tuesday, saying the charges were related to "crowd behavior, use of fireworks and racist behavior."
The suspended disqualification will last the duration of the tournament, according to the football body.
"Such suspension will be lifted if incidents of a similar nature (crowd disturbances) happen inside the stadium at any of the remaining matches of the Russian team during the tournament," UEFA added.
Clashes in Marseille
Three days of violence last week between England and Russia fans in downtown Marseille had overshadowed the build-up to the match.
Following the game itself, Russian fans crossed a security barrier inside the stadium and attacked England fans, causing many supporters to flee.
UEFA stressed that its ruling on Russia only applied to incidents that took place inside the stadium, where it is responsible for security. The football body had already warned Russia and England it could disqualify them if there was more trouble, but only Russia was penalized for fan behavior.
Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko told the R-Sports agency the country would not appeal the decision, but said UEFA had gone too far.
"The punishment is excessive, but we cannot influence it," Mutko said, adding the team was not at fault for the behavior of its fans.
Russia play Slovakia in Lille on Wednesday, while England play Wales in nearby Lens. The short distance between the two cities has sparked concern the two fan groups could meet again.
It is the second straight European Championship during which Russia has been punished for fan conduct. The RFU was given a fine and a suspended six-point Euro 2016 qualifying deduction after its supporters assaulted stadium security and displayed illicit banners at the Euro 2012 tournament in Ukraine and Poland.