Racism Costs Olympiakos Its Fans

The Olympiakos soccer team that has advanced to the quarter-finals of the European Champions League that determine the best professional team in the region will play its next game in a partially closed stadium because of its fans racist behavior, UEFA has declared.

The same penalty was put on the Russian Zenit club of St. Petersburg as UEFA struggles to rein in racism in the game and in the stands. The Greek side will have to close the lower tier of the north stand of its stadium in the first leg match against Manchester United on Feb. 25 and has also been fined 30,000 euros.

UEFA said the sanctions were imposed for “the racist conduct of supporters, insufficient organization, the setting-off of fireworks and the use of a laser” during the group stage match at home to Anderlecht on Dec. 10.

Zenit was sanctioned for incidents during its 4-1 defeat at Austria Vienna and will have to close the area of the stadium which usually houses its ultras when it hosts Borussia Dortmund, also on February 25.

UEFA said the Russian club had been punished for “the racist behavior of fans – namely the displaying of a banner – the setting-off and throwing of fireworks and crowd disturbances.”