Moscow Soccer Team Given Another Stadium Ban After Fans Display Nazi Symbol

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Torpedo Moscow fans in 2011.Credit: Dreamstime

Torpedo Moscow, the Russian Premier League team, must play two home games in an empty stadium after fans displayed a banner with a Nazi symbol during a 3-1 win over Arsenal Tula on Sunday, the club’s fourth racism-related punishment this season.

The punishment will not take effect until May because Torpedo are already required to play their next two home games behind closed doors for a separate incident in which fans abused the Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk with monkey chants.

Sunday’s game was also marred by crowd violence, with Torpedo fans attacking Arsenal supporters and police. For that, Torpedo fans will be barred from the club’s next three away games, with the exception of women and children under 13.

Torpedo were fined a total of $16,000 (900,000 rubles) for various offences including the Nazi banner, the fighting, use of flares by fans, and insulting chants.

Arsenal received a $88,000 (480,000-ruble) fine on charges including failing to secure the stadium properly. Police detained 15 fans at the game, of whom seven face charges, the Russian agency Tass reported.

In response to the incidents at Sunday’s game, Torpedo’s president, Alexander Tukmanov, told the R-Sport agency that the club’s fans seemed to be “probably the most aggressive” of any top-flight Russian team. Torpedo’s previous three racism offences this season all involved monkey chants against opposition players.

The latest punishment comes a week after the Russian Football Union appointed its first dedicated anti-racism inspector, who is tasked with gathering evidence to punish clubs for racism-related incidents at matches.

A report by two anti-discrimination organizations last month said there were more than 200 cases of discriminatory behavior linked to Russian football over two seasons, as the country prepares to host the 2018 World Cup.

Separately on Tuesday, the Zenit coach, André Villas-Boas, was given a suspended one-game ban by the Russian Football Union for repeatedly breaking rules on leaving his technical area at games throughout the season.