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8 Feb, 2022 18:37

UEFA opens probe into match between Russia and Ukraine

'Russophobic' chants were reportedly heard at the futsal match, where Ukraine fans were warned by the arena announcer
UEFA opens probe into match between Russia and Ukraine

UEFA has ordered its Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector to investigate the Euro futsal semifinal between Russia and Ukraine in Amsterdam on Friday, when Ukraine supporters were warned that the match would be halted if they continued making "political and unsportsmanlike chants".

Ukraine fans at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, where Russia won a pulsating clash 3-2, were heard singing derogatory chants about Russian president Vladimir Putin and reciting Russophobic songs during the game, according to sports.ru.

Any action could center on part of UEFA's disciplinary regulations stipulating that all associations are liable for certain types of 'inappropriate' behaviour from their supporters.

Even if they can prove they are not negligent, associations can face 'disciplinary measures and directives' over fans using gestures, words or objects to 'transmit a provocative message that is not fit for a sports event'.

The rules refer to 'particularly provocative messages' that are of a 'political, ideological, religious or offensive nature'.

One of the most high-profile recent punishments for fan behaviour was leveled against Hungary, who were fined around $114,000 and ordered by UEFA in July 2021 to play two games behind closed doors over racist chants by fans.

That led to Hungary’s foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, branding the administrative body of European football “pitiful and cowardly”.

England also landed the same fine and a two-match stadium ban – with one game suspended for two years – because of crowd trouble around London's Wembley Stadium at the final of Euro 2020.

The Russian Football Union is said to have called for action to be taken following the game, which took place against a backdrop of political and miliatary tensions.

The nations are usually kept apart in draws for tournaments, but there had been no provisions preventing the teams from meeting at the flagship event on the futsal – a condensed indoor version of football – calendar.

Players from the Russian team had spoken before the game of their cordial relationship with their Ukrainian rivals, and the Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Physical Culture and Sports, Dmitry Svishchev, predicted that any provocations would not come from Russian players.

Russia had looked comfortable for much of the game, which took place shortly after the Dutch government ruled that pandemic restrictions would be eased to allow limited numbers of supporters to attend certain events in the Netherlands.

RT

The frequent finalists established an early 2-0 lead and re-established a two-goal cushion by going 3-1 ahead, only for Ukraine to score a second with six minutes to spare and win a last-gasp penalty.

Russian goalkeeper Dmitri Putilov proved the hero by stopping Petro Shoturma's spot kick to send his side to the final, in which they again went 2-0 ahead before holders Portugal roared back to win 4-2 on Sunday.