City fined £24k for lateness, Porto fined £16k for racism

Uefa's priorities exposed in scale of penalties imposed after Europa League incidents

Manchester City have been fined £24,740 by Uefa for delaying the start of the second half of their Europa League last 16 first leg match with Sporting Lisbon last month.

City were punished by European football's governing body for returning late to the field following half-time in the 8 March match at the Jose Alvalade stadium, which Sporting won 1-0.

A Uefa spokesman confirmed they had informed City of the punishment yesterday and that the Premier League side had three days to appeal against the fine.

The punishment comes a week after another Portuguese club, Porto, were fined £16,700 by Uefa for their fans' racial abuse of City players in the same competition in February. City's Mario Balotelli and Yaya Touré were subjected to monkey taunts during a last-32 game at the Estadio do Dragao, prompting a complaint from the English club.

 

City went on to beat Porto 6-1 on aggregate to set up the tie with Lisbon. They were then beaten by a goal by Xandao in the Portuguese capital on 8 March before being knocked out on away goals after a 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium the following week.

Meanwhile, City defender Micah Richards says his team's faltering form, which has allowed Manchester United to take a virtually unassailable lead in the Premier League title race, hurts so much that he "wanted to cry".

When United scored two late goals to beat Blackburn 2-0 last week, City's destiny was no longer in their hands. "At half-time and at 60 minutes, I thought 'You never know', but United do always look like they will score," he said. "So I knew it was going to come.

"But when they got it and went further clear of us, I actually wanted to cry and I haven't done that or felt like that in years. Football is full of emotions. You get angry and happy but I've never wanted to cry before. This time I did and that shows how much it means."

Richards, who admitted City's title chances are now slight, added: "I have been grafting so hard this season, we have played unbelievable football and to see United come like this is horrendous. It kills me."

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