UEFA closes Legia Warsaw stadium for 1 game after fan incidents including giant expletive banner

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Legia Warsaw’s season-long issues with fan incidents at UEFA-organized games including a giant banner with an expletive led to an order on Thursday to play its next European home game in an empty stadium.

The latest disciplinary case followed Legia fans unveiling the banner along the length of its stadium before a Europa Conference League game against Molde last month.

UEFA said the “provocative message of an offensive nature” was among several charges judged by its disciplinary panel which included a fine of 21,000 euros ($23,000).

Legia was ordered to close one end of its stadium for the Molde game and fans left a banner there reading “This Time You Won UEFA” in English. However, when the teams came out for the game, a giant “tifo” display opposite the main stand showed a Lego character above the slogan “Surprise (expletive).”

The stadium closure order will apply in the next season Legia qualifies for a UEFA competition because the Polish club was eliminated by Molde in the knockout playoffs.

In December, UEFA fined Legia 100,000 euros ($109,000) and banned the club from selling tickets to five away games because of disorder outside Aston Villa’s stadium at a group-stage game in November. The English club cited “ unprecedented violence ” from Legia fans in a complaint to UEFA.

Legia’s allocation of tickets for the game in England was cut by local authorities in response to disorder at the team’s game in the Netherlands at AZ Alkmaar in October.

In a separate case, UEFA fined Viktoria Plzeň 30,000 euros ($32,700) for objects being thrown by its fans including hitting the Servette goalkeeper at a Europa Conference League game.

The Czech Republic club was also ordered to partially close its stadium where its diehard fans sit. The order was suspended for a two-year probation period.

Plzeň said three fans threw objects and one of them hit the Swiss club’s goalkeeper Jeremy Frick with a cup in the round of 16, second-leg game last week.

The behavior was “unacceptable,” Plzeň said on Thursday, adding it was taking legal advice about further steps to punish the fans.

Plzeň beat Servette in a penalty shootout after both games ended goalless. Plzeň will meet last year’s runner-up Fiorentina in the quarterfinals of the third-tier European competition.


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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