Soccer

Russian soccer club punished for fan racism

Russian Premier League team Torpedo Moscow must play two home games in an empty stadium after fans displayed a banner with a Nazi symbol, the club's fourth racism-related punishment this season.

Repeat offender Torpedo Moscow forced to play 2 home games without spectators

Fans of Torpedo Moscow, seen here at a 2012 match against in-city rival Dinamo Moscow, are know for throwing flares and other unruly behaviour at matches. (Yury Martyanov/AFP/GettyImages)

Russian Premier League team Torpedo Moscow must play two home games in an empty stadium after fans displayed a banner with a Nazi symbol, the club's fourth racism-related punishment this season.

Torpedo fans showed the flag during a 3-1 win over Arsenal Tula on Sunday, the Russian Football Union said.

The punishment will not take effect until May because Torpedo is already required to play its next two home games behind closed doors for a separate incident in which fans abused 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 was fined a total of 900,000 rubles ($16,300 US) for various offences including the Nazi banner, the fighting, use of pyrotechnics by fans, and insulting chants.

Arsenal received a 480,000-ruble ($8,700) fine on charges including failing to secure the stadium properly. Police detained 15 fans at the game, of which seven face charges, Russian agency Tass reported on Monday.

In response to the incidents at Sunday's game, Torpedo 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 behaviour linked to Russian soccer over two seasons, as the country prepares to host the 2018 World Cup.

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