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Russia trying to avoid 'severe' UEFA sanctions

Associated Press
Jun 14, 2012 at 05:09pm IST

Warsaw: Russia's football federation will do all it can to avoid "severe" UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) sanctions imposed after the country's fans attacked stadium stewards at their team's first European Championship match.

The federation also appealed again to its fans to behave at Euro 2012 stadiums.

"In these days, as never before, the Russian team needs the support of its fans, who are the best in the world, not hooligans putting their own interests above the interests of the national team," the federation said in a statement.

Russia trying to avoid 'severe' UEFA sanctions

UEFA fined the Russians €120,000 ($150,000) on Wednesday following the violence by its fans on June 8 in Wroclaw.

Russia has been one of the most exciting attacking team's of the tournament so far, but its image has been tarnished by violence and alleged racist chants by fans. UEFA fined the Russians €120,000 ($150,000) on Wednesday following violence at the team's 4-1 defeat of the Czech Republic on June 8 in Wroclaw.

It also said Russia will lose six points in its next European Championship qualification campaign if there is a repeat of such violence from its fans at Euro 2012. The Russian federation said in a statement it will do all it can to avoid being "subjected to this severe punishment."

Russia has three days from Wednesday's announcement of the sanctions to file an appeal. The federation also said it has the power to seek compensation from hooligans if it is forced to pay UEFA fines. Within hours of announcing the sanctions on Wednesday, UEFA charged Russia with further offenses relating to its fans' behavior inside Warsaw's National Stadium during the match against Poland on Tuesday.

UEFA said that their disciplinary panel will review the second round of charges following Russia's 1-1 draw with Poland on Sunday.

A firecracker was thrown on the field after Russia scored, and at least six black, yellow and white "Russian Empire" flags — which are seen as an emblem of far-right Russian nationalists — were displayed at one end of the stadium occupied by Russian fans. A fan waving a Russian national flag also ran the length of the field after the final whistle, before being caught by stewards.

Those incidents came after Russian fans were filmed fighting with stadium staff in Wroclaw after the Czech match. Police said violence flared when stewards tried to detain a man who they believed threw a firecracker. Four stewards were treated at a hospital, but weren't seriously injured.

Russia's fine was also imposed by UEFA's disciplinary panel because of the thrown firework and for fans displaying "illicit banners." UEFA is still investigating claims that Russian fans racially abused Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie, who is black.

Some Russian fans were involved in violent clashes, largely provoked by Poles, in Warsaw on Tuesday before and during the match against the co-hosts. UEFA can't sanction federations for incidents that occur away from stadiums.

Euro 2016 in France has been expanded to 24 nations, meaning the two top teams in each group will automatically advance. Third-place teams should get a final chance to advance through playoffs.

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