Partizan Belgrade issue apology after antisemitic banner displayed
Partizan Belgrade have issued an apology after a number of their fans displayed an antisemitic banner in Thursday’s (18 September) Europa League draw with Tottenham, branding it a “mindless act”.
The apology came as Uefa announced it was opening disciplinary proceedings against the Serbian club “for racist behaviour of their supporters, field invasions by supporters, setting-off of fireworks and use of laser pointer. The case will be dealt by the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body on 3 October.”
The Serbian SuperLiga side have moved to distance themselves from those supporters, claiming their actions make the country’s fight to stamp out discrimination “worthless”.
A delegate from the governing body Uefa took photographic evidence after the match.
The Spurs manager, Mauricio Pochettino, described it as “an unacceptable thing. It is very disrespectful. This is a shame, very disrespectful and unacceptable.”
It is not the first time Partizan have found themselves in hot water, having been thrown out of the Uefa Cup and fined in 2007 for rioting during a first qualifying round first-leg clash at Zrinjski Mostar.
They could have their stadium at least part-closed by Uefa if found guilty of misconduct over the banner. The incident comes two years after the racial abuse suffered by England Under-21s in a European Championship play-off in Serbia. The Spurs left-back Danny Rose was caught up in the problems that night and was among those rested for the Partizan match.
Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham’s draw with Partizan Belgrade was a fair result.
The club said: “The message displayed on that banner is completely opposite to preferences and opinions of almost all citizens of Serbia and Partizan fans.
“It is absolutely absurd to link a club that was founded after the WWII on anti-fascist principles and after the battle of people of Europe with antisemitism and similar dark and anti-civilisation impulses.
“We fully condemn perpetrators of this mindless act, not only of antisemitic nature, but one that represents hatred of Partizan and Serbia as well.
“We believe this vicious action will not spoil our sporting friendship with Tottenham and football aficionados in Great Britain. In cooperation with competent authorities, Partizan FC will do everything to locate, trial and ban those perpetrators from sporting fields.
“We apologise to everyone who found themselves insulted and upset by this banner. Once again, we point out that such banner message is completely opposite to history and tradition of our club, and our fans’ aspirations.”
From The Guardian