City fans free to keep on boo­ing Cham­pi­ons League anthem

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Manchester City sup­port­ers are free to boo the Cham­pi­ons League anthem with­out land­ing the club in trou­ble af­ter it emerged UEFA have amended their rules on the mat­ter.

City fans have vented their frus­tra­tion with Euro­pean foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body over a num­ber of is­sues by jeer­ing through­out the pre-match mu­sic in re­cent years.

It came to a head in Oc­to­ber 2015 when UEFA opened dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings against City for ‘dis­rup­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion anthem’ be­fore a Cham­pi­ons League match against Sevilla, although a dis­ci­plinary panel later im­posed no pun­ish­ment.

UEFA were bound by their own rules to take ac­tion against any boo­ing of the anthem but changes to those reg­u­la­tions took ef­fect from July 1, leav­ing City fans free to con­tinue demon­strat­ing.

The main cause of their anger was UEFA’s de­ci­sion to im­pose a £49 mil­lion (RM273 mil­lion) fine and limit City’s Cham­pi­ons League squad for breach­ing Fi­nan­cial Fair Play rules in 2014, with City see­ing FFP as an at­tempt to block their en­try into Europe’s elite.

City were also fu­ri­ous that CSKA Moscow es­caped pun­ish­ment in Oc­to­ber 2014 when 300 home fans were al­lowed to watch a Cham­pi­ons League match in Rus­sia de­spite UEFA or­der­ing the game to be played be­hind closed doors be­cause of a se­ries of crowd dis­tur­bances in­volv­ing CSKA sup­port­ers.

The sense of frus­tra­tion among City fans dates back to 2012 when Porto were fined only £18,000 af­ter their fans racially abused Mario Balotelli in a Europa League game, but City were hit with a £27,000 fine the fol­low­ing month when their play­ers came out a minute late for the sec­ond half against Sport­ing Lis­bon.

Mean­while, City are con­fi­dent they have not breached UEFA’s fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tions this sum­mer de­spite spend­ing an es­ti­mated £216 mil­lion, a record in a sin­gle trans­fer win­dow. Daily Mail

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