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Moscow derby to be played without fans after midweek incident

Nov 2, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT

People demonstrate as they hold a Nazi flag displaying a swastika at the stands of the Spartak Moscow supporters during a soccer match finals between Shinnik Yaroslavl and Spartak Moscow in Yaroslavl Reuters

One of the most volatile fixtures in the Russian Premier League, Spartak Moscow hosting Lokomotiv Moscow on Sunday, will be played in a closed Lokomotiv Stadium. The clubs share the ground until Otkrytie Arena is ready next year.

Spartak will also play a subsequent league match against Zenit St. Petersburg behind closed doors, as punishment for fan violence at a Russian Cup match at Shinnik Yaroslavl on Wednesday. Fans threw lit flares and torn-out stadium seats onto the field and fought with riot police, as well as displaying Nazi swastikas on flags in the crowd.

“For the use of fireworks by spectators, the audience throwing fireworks, for the unrest in the stadium and the public display of Nazi symbols in the audience,” the official RFU statement reads, “FC Spartak Moscow is fined 600,000 rubles [about $18,500] and is obliged to hold two of the next home games under the auspices of the RFU without spectators.”

Shinnik Yaroslavl was fined 500,000 rubles — about $15,500 — and mandated to play three home games behind closed doors “for the use of fireworks by spectators, the audience throwing fireworks, for the unrest the stadium and the failure to maintain public order and security at the stadium.”

(MORE: Russia’s racism stems from lack of education but can be reversed, experts say)

Spartak appealed the Russian Football Union punishment, likely in the hope that a final decision could not be made until after the derby on Sunday, allowing fans to attend. However, the appeal was rejected early on Saturday.

The club said in a press release that, despite having sold out the stadium for the match, the RFU would not suspend the punishment until after the weekend. The game will likely have an impact on the Russian Premier League title race, as the teams are tied at the top of the table — in second, underneath Zenit — on 30 points from 14 matches.

“The Appeals Committee of the RFU, alas, would not grant our petition,” the Spartak release read. “As a result, innocent fans suffered because of some provocateurs and thugs who rioted in Yaroslavl.”

  1. changofeo - Nov 2, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    So….Fireworks get a stiffer sentence than racism in Russia. Sounds about right.

  2. 407magic - Nov 2, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Those Russian fans with that nazi flag have to be the most ignorant IDIOTS on this planet. Russia had the most lives lost in WWII and we’re talking about tens of millions of Russian deaths and Mostly civilian because of that flag and what it stood for. They must not teach that in Russian schools. Is there schools in Russia? <sarcasm

  3. Anoesis - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:09 AM


    Best estimates are 20 million Soviet dead in a war that started with Stalin’s non-aggression pact with Hitler. The Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east after Nazi Germany invaded from the west. England and France declared war on Germany for that (but not on Russia). After Hitler turned on Stalin (operation Barbarossa) the Russians became allies.

    Germany’s troops ended up deep in the USSR (mere miles from Moscow) but the brutal Russian winter helped the Soviets regroup. An entire German army was slaughtered. Out of 600,000 troops only 91,000 survived at the time of its surrender. They went to Russian prison camps and just 6,000 returned home to Germany after the war.

    Once the USSR pushed into Germany in 1945 they generally rampaged across the land, destroying everything in their path. In Berlin the Red Army raped up to 2 million German women and girls, some as young as 8 years old. Thousands, likely tens of thousands, of victims committed suicide.

    Germany committed many atrocities in WWII, most of them well-documented. The USSR also committed war crimes throughout the war, but since they were on the “winning” side most of them were glossed over.

    So Russia was friends with Nazi Germany before they were enemies. Both countries were ruled by dictators. Both countries had savagely brutal armies that thought nothing of utilizing the most barbaric practices imaginable in their pursuit of victory.

    While some might see it as ironic for Russian futbol fans to wave Nazi flags, remember that there are hard-core right-wing fanatics around the world who identify with Hitler’s legacy.

    I did find it funny that, while facetiously questioning the level of education offered in Russia, you made a Bushism. “Is our children learning?”

  4. bellerophon30 - Nov 3, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    I guess the American equivalent to this would be a black or Jewish person joining the KKK. Wow. The fines are small, but that’s a lot of revenue being lost with closed door matches. That’s where it’ll hurt the teams, and they deserve to be hurt for allowing this kind of garbage.

    That’s the best way to put the screws to the teams: Deny them match day revenue. Sooner or later they’ll get the message, and will start to seriously police their fans.

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