UEFA opens disciplinary case against Russia over violence

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Russia is facing UEFA sanctions after disciplinary proceedings were opened against the federation for crowd disturbances and racist behavior by its fans during a European Championship game against England.

The English Football Association, whose fans fled the stadium in Marseille after being attacked by a large group of Russian fans, has not been charged by UEFA.

Russia has also been charged over fireworks being set off inside the Stade Velodrome, where the game finished 1-1. UEFA said its control, ethics and disciplinary body will judge the case on Tuesday, imposing sanctions ahead of its second Euro 2016 game against Slovakia on Wednesday in Lille.

European soccer's governing body is only taking disciplinary action over the disorder inside the stadium, where it spread after three straight days of fighting near the port in the Mediterranean city.

Although UEFA holds national federations responsible for their fans' behavior inside stadiums, it typically does not act on incidents elsewhere.

When UEFA's disciplinary panel judges incidents in Marseille, it could take Russian fans' track record at Euro 2012 into account. UEFA imposed a series of sanctions, including fines, on the Russian FA for incidents at that tournament, which was hosted by Poland and Ukraine. England is likely to be treated more leniently by UEFA because its fans have little history of disorder in recent European Championship qualifying and final tournaments.

Saturday's game was Russia's first to be organized by UEFA since the lifting of probationary sanctions that were threatened after violent disorder by its fans in Poland four years ago.

It was also the second case in recent weeks of fighting between rival fans at a high-profile UEFA-organized match. Last month, UEFA formally opened a disciplinary case two days after Liverpool and Sevilla fans clashed at the Europa League final in Basel, Switzerland.

Among the incidents at Euro 2012, stadium security staff in Wroclaw, Poland, were assaulted by Russian fans in Russia's opening 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic. The Russian authorities were fined 30,000 euros ($37,500) for racially insulting Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie, who is black.

In a separate Euro 2012 incident, UEFA charged and fined Russia for a fan carrying a national flag across the field after a 1-1 draw against Poland. That heavily policed match in Warsaw was played on June 12 — Russia's national holiday — after fights in the city as rival fans went to the stadium.

Four years ago, UEFA deferred a sanction of ordering Russia to play three home Euro 2016 qualifying in empty stadiums. The stadium ban would have been activated if fan violence during qualifying matches was repeated.

UEFA had initially threatened Russia with a six-point deduction in Euro 2016 qualifying but that was removed when the Russian Football Union appealed to UEFA. A fine of 120,000 euros ($150,000) was maintained though.