CSKA Moscow faces charges over behavior of its fans in match against Manchester City
European soccer's ruling body to hear case against Russian club on October 30
CSKA fans accused of racist behavior and setting off fireworks in Wednesday's match
City's Yaya Toure complained of being racially abused during Champions League tie
UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against CSKA Moscow after Manchester City’s Yaya Toure claimed he was abused by monkey chants from the stands in Wednesday’s European Champions League encounter with the Russian club.
The Ivorian made his concerns known to the referee and said he was “furious” after the Group D game at the Arena Khimki, which City won 2-1.
But CSKA released a statement on its website denying there was any racist chanting and told CNN that UEFA’s match delegate wasn’t aware of any either.
European football’s governing body UEFA told CNN it had no official comment to make on CSKA’s claim.
Read: Toure ‘furious’ after Moscow abuse
It added that the match delegate or the referee had made reference to the racist chants in their reports in order for proceedings to have been opened.
“Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against PFC CSKA Moskva for racist behavior of their fans and for setting off of fireworks,” UEFA said in a statement on its website.
“The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on October 30.”
Toure told Manchester City’s in-house TV channel that he was abused after missing a chance during the game, and he called on UEFA to take a tough stance on CSKA.
“I hope they will change it, I hope they will get big sanctions,” said the midfielder, who played for Ukrainian club Metalurh Donetsk from 2003-05. “They have to ban them at some stage, they have to ban a club for a couple of years. They don’t know.
“They have to do something about it or they will always continue with it. I don’t know why we just have this in football – in volleyball or rugby, we don’t have it.”
But Toure’s version of events was challenged by CSKA, which said its fans were trying to put pressure on City’s players with a “disapproving drone and whistle irrespective of their race.”
The statement added: “Having carefully studied the video recording of the match, we have not found any insults of a racist nature by the CSKA fans towards the visitors, which the match delegate also confirmed after the end of the game.”
CSKA also quoted Toure’s compatriot Seydou Doumbia as saying: “I never heard anything of the kind from our fans. Yes, they noisily support the team and try to put maximum pressure on the opponent, but they don’t take the liberty of racist cries/shouts.
“So my fellow Ivory Coast teammate clearly got worked up.”
However, a report on Russian news agency RIA Novosti noted that racist chanting is “commonplace at top-flight Russian league games.”
It added: “But prosecutions are rare and clubs whose fans shout racist insults are usually punished with small fines.”
High-profile stars such as Brazilian Roberto Carlos have complained about being taunted with bananas while playing in Russia – as has another former Anzhi Makhachkala player, Christopher Samba.
Last year a group of fans supporting Zenit St. Petersburg launched a “manifesto” urging the leading Russian club to not sign black players.
Russia has also come under scrutiny ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi due to new legislation that many see as discriminating against gay people.
Its successful bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup came with the promise that it would seek to stamp out racism in domestic football, and the organizing committee has reacted to Toure’s suggestion that players might boycott the prestigious tournament.
“The 2018 World Cup in Russia, in particular, can act as a catalyst to positively change the mindsets and behavior across all involved in Russian football over the next four years,” the 2018 organizers said in a statement to Novosti on Thursday.
“Whilst the alleged incidents are still under investigation by the relevant authorities, it is clear that all over the world a small minority try to ruin the wonderful experience of watching live world-class football for real fans.
“It is worth restating that all stakeholders in Russian football have made it clear that there is absolutely no place for any type of racial discrimination or abuse in our game.”
European football has been hit by several incidents of racism this year, beginning in January when Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch during a friendly match between his then club AC Milan and a lower-league Italian side.
A Serie A match involving Milan in May was suspended due to abuse of Boateng’s former teammate Mario Balotelli.
This month the Ukraine national side had to play a World Cup qualifying match with Poland in an empty home stadium due to racist behavior by its supporters during a previous game against San Marino.