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Manchester City are to be investigated for breaching “order and security” regulations at last night’s Champions League game against Sevilla, because their fans booed the Uefa anthem.
An over-zealous match official noted that City’s fans – who have refused to sing the anthem for several years – had booed it again. He noted this in his match report and the governing body’s disciplinary unit will now mount an investigation into a possible breach of article 16.2 of its disciplinary regulations. The rule states that clubs are “liable for … inappropriate behaviour on the part of their supporters and may be subject to disciplinary measures” for the “disruption of national or competition anthems.”
City - whose fans were last season told they could not travel to a behind-closed-doors Champions League game at CSKA Moscow, only for the club to find hundreds of locals had breached a ban on attendance imposed for racist chanting – are today bemused. Uefa’s rules state that they could be liable for a fine, even if they can prove the absence of any “negligence” on their part. City will only be charged if the disciplinary unit decide they are in breach of the regulation.
The unprecedented Uefa charge comes while Uefa president Michel Platini is banned from football activities for 90 days, pending an investigation continues into a payment of £1.35m made to him by Fifa president Sepp Blatter, received nine years after it was earned
The Uefa anthem has been greeted with contempt by many City fans since Platini’s financial fair play rules saw them hit with a threatened 49m euro fine for breaching the regime. The Moscow debacle last season compounded the sense that Uefa has been less than even-handed in its treatment of the club.