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UEFA Hold Disciplinary Hearing for Spartak Moscow

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Liverpool will find out today whether Tuesday night’s Champions League clash will be played behind closed doors.

FC Spartak Moscow vs FC Zenit Saint Petersburg - Russian Premier League
Um. What the actual fuck?
Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images

Russians are known for many things. Vodka. Cold winters. Depressed novelists. Electing U.S. presidents. And violently dangerous and racist football fans. It is this last point that is key here, because in Spartak Moscow’s opening 1-1 draw at Maribor, their fans allegedly attempted to fire a fucking rocket at the referee.

The normal course of action here for UEFA would be to sanction Spartak by forcing their home games to be played behind closed doors. Indeed, this was the response to CSKA Moscow’s racist chants, violent conduct, and firing off flares in 2014. In this case, Manchester City were the beneficiaries on their trip to Moscow.

However, this case might not be wrapped up so quickly. In the 2014 example, initial ruling banned fans from attending all three home matches, which was later reduced to two. The process of punishment and appeals took around eight weeks.

Further, if UEFA punishes Spartak it would also affect Liverpool supporters who have already made arrangements to make the long-haul to the Russian capital. If the game is to be played behind closed doors, it would also bar Liverpool supporters from entering the premises. Moreover, it would likely be an even greater safety risk for Liverpool supporters in Moscow after a sanction has been handed down.

Hopefully UEFA acts swiftly to address these concerns. Although previous punishments handed down to other Russian teams have not dissuaded the worst of the worst from continuing with this sort of behavior, they need to continue sending a strong and consistent message that this is just not OK.