There is outrage in Spain following the 150,000 euro fine and 3 match stadium ban for Atlético de Madrid following the match against Olympique de Marsella on October 1st. Atleticos coach Javier Aguirre has also recieved a 2 match ban for insulting the Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena.
The sanctions were imposed on the Spanish club for alleged racist abuse during the match. However, the sanction has now jeopardised the travel plans of up to 6000 Liverpool fans who were planning to travel to Madrid for next week’s Champion’s League match. The UEFA sanction states that the match cannot take place within 300 kilometres of Atletico’s Vicente Calderón stadium.
The Spanish Home Office Minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, said that the sanctions were unusual and he has given his backing to the actions of the police during the recent Champion’s League football match between Atlético de Madrid and the French club Olympique de Marsella. He confirmed that he was working with Atlético de Madrid to try and get the sanction imposed by UEFA lifted.
However, William Gaillard, director of Communications for UEFA said that the incidents registered in the match were provoked by the actions of Spanish police.
The Home Office has promised to give all police records and information regarding what happened to Atlético de Madrid. Rubalcala also said that he would send videos of the incidents to UEFA so that it could see what really happened. He said that UEFA official’s would see Olympique fans throwing seats at the police. He said that the police intervened to remove a banner inciting violence and that is when the trouble started. He also reminded reporters that one member of the police had to be hospitalised and needed 7 stitches after being injured by the actions of French fans.
Police Unions have rejected the statement made by UEFA’s director of Communications following the incidents in the Vicente Calderon Studium on October 1st.
The General Secretary for the Sindicato Unificado de la Policía (SUP), Sánchez Fornet, said that UEFA should rectify its accusations that the action of the Spanish police caused the outbreak of violence in the Stadium. Fornet said that French fans had attacked the police when they had attempted to remove a racist banner carried by the French fans.
The Spanish Police Federation (CEP) said that Gaillard’s words were unfortunate and said that the police had acted correctly given the situation in the stadium using the necessary level of force against the French fans. The Spanish Federal Union of Police went as far as asking UEFA to apologise for its comments.