Atletico sanctions applauded

Anti-racism campaigners have praised Uefa for ordering Atletico Madrid to play Liverpool at a neutral venue, describing the decision as "momentous".

Uefa fined the Spanish club £120,000 for racist abuse of Marseille players and handed out a three-match stadium ban after crowd trouble and lack of organisation at the same match.

It means Atletico's next two Champions League home games cannot be played within 300 kilometres of Madrid, and the third-match ban will be invoked if there is a repeat of crowd trouble or racist chanting within the next five years.

Former Chelsea defender Paul Elliott, ambassador for European campaigners FARE, said: "This is a momentous decision.

"I and other leading players in the game - black and white - fully support the actions that UEFA have taken and urge all governing bodies to work with us to make sure that racism is effectively eradicated.

"Uefa's decision sets out a zero-tolerance policy that underlines respect for the rights of human beings whatever their race, religion or ethnic background."

Lord Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, added: "The leadership that Uefa has demonstrated through these sanctions sends out a message that is loud and clear - racism will not be tolerated.

"We have been working with Uefa for a number of years to take on the challenges of dealing with racism among fans and governing bodies across Europe.

"It is now critical that every member of the football family follows this lead and understands what they need to do to tackle this epidemic of racial and homophobic abuse."

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