Partizan Belgrade vs Tottenham: Uefa opens investigation into anti-Semitic banner Partizan fans paraded during Europa League clash

 

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Uefa has announced it is opening disciplinary proceedings against Partizan Belgrade after a number of their fans displayed an anti-Semitic banner during Thursday's Europa League draw with Tottenham.

Partizan have condemned the actions of the supporters who unfurled the sign - based on the Only Fools and Horses logo, with the words changed to 'Only Jews and Pussies' - during the opening group game in the Serbian capital.

UEFA is nevertheless investigating the incident, and confirmed on Friday afternoon that it will address the matter at the start of next month.

"Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against FK Partizan for racist behaviour of their supporters, field invasions by supporters, setting-off of fireworks and use of laser pointer.

 

"The case will be dealt by the UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body on October 3."

Partizan issued an apology shortly before UEFA's announcement, branding the displaying of the banner as a "mindless act".

The statement, released through Partizan's official website, went on to say that the club will endeavour to ban those found guilty of displaying the banner.

"Dear football aficionados in Serbia and Europe," it read.

"The football match between Partizan and Tottenham was eagerly awaited in our city and we watched fine performances from both teams in a fair-play sporting atmosphere.

"But this game was marred by malicious act of certain individuals who made all the efforts from our players and our club to prove we deserve our spot in football Europe worthless.

"FC Partizan resolutely disavows with anti-Semitic banner displayed yesterday. The message displayed on that banner is completely opposite to preferences and opinions of almost all citizens of Serbia and Partizan fans.

"It is absolutely absurd to link a club that was founded after the WWII on anti-fascist principles and after the battle of people of Europe with anti-Semitism and similar dark and anti-civilisation impulses.

"We fully condemn perpetrators of this mindless act, not only of anti-Semitic nature, but one that represents hatred of Partizan and Serbia as well.

"We believe this vicious action will not spoil our sporting friendship with Tottenham and football aficionados in Great Britain. In cooperation with competent authorities, Partizan FC will do everything to locate, trial and ban those perpetrators from sporting fields.

"We apologise to everyone who found themselves insulted and upset by this banner. Once again, we point out that such banner message is completely opposite to history and tradition of our club, and our fans' aspirations."

It is also not the first time Serbian football has been in trouble over racism after England Under-21 players were abused during a match against Serbia in October 2012.

That incident is unlikely to affect Partizan's punishment, however, as UEFA considers club and international competitions separately.

Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino labelled the banner "disrespectful" in his post-match media duties following the goalless draw.

"I didn't see it," he said.

"The club is aware but I did not see (it myself). But if this is true, then it is an unacceptable thing. It is very disrespectful.

"This is a shame, very disrespectful and unacceptable."

A similar incident occurred during a Champions League tie between Bayern Munich and Arsenal last season, when fans of the German side displayed a banner which contained an illicit drawing and carried the phrase: 'Gay Gunners'.

Bayern were fined 10,000 euros and forced to close a section of their stadium for their following home Champions League tie, which came against fellow Premier League outfit Manchester United.

PA

Comments