UEFA shows €150,000 yellow card to Russia over fan violence

By bne IntelliNews June 14, 2016

The Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) on June 14 slapped a €150,000 fine on the Russian Football Union and issued a provisional suspension warning threatening to disqualify the national team from the ongoing 2016 Euro Cup should misconduct by Russian fans persist.

The 1:1 draw in the June 11 opening march against England was marred by brawls between fans of both countries in the French city of Marseilles, continuing a series of scandals and controversies surrounding Russian sports. Earlier, the coach of Russian national squad Leonid Slutsky and some players urged fans to abstain from violence. Russia's next game is to be played with Slovakia on June 15.

"We will be following the decision of Uefa and there must be no other stance of the RFU," the head of the RFU and Russia's Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko told TASS.

Mutko and his ministry have also figured at the centre of an alleged cover-up of involvement of Russian athletes  in "state-supported" doping. In a further sporting blow to Russia, tennis star Maria Sharapova was suspended on June 8 for two years after she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open tournament.

The recent soccer violence in France coincided with  renewed objections to the decision to award Russia the 2018 soccer World Cup championship. The global soccer federation Fifa has been rocked by accusations of bribery in the host country selection process for the 2018 competition and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The uproar was compounded last October when suspended Fifa chief Sepp Blatter told the TASS news agency in an interview that the decision to award Russia the event in 2018 was taken before voting on the choice of the host country.

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