Russia faces Euro 2016 penalty for fan violence

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WARSAW, Poland -- Russia could be deducted six points in its qualifying group for the next European Championship if its fans turn violent again at Euro 2012.

UEFA fined the Russian football association $150,000 on Wednedsay because its fans attacked stadium stewards at a match last week in Poland. UEFA also gave the federation a suspended six-point deduction for a repeat offense.

"This decision is suspended for a probationary period running from now until the end of the playoffs of the next UEFA European Football Championship," UEFA said in a statement.

Russia can appeal the verdict within three days.

Russian fans were filmed fighting with stadium staff in Wroclaw after a 4-1 win over the Czech Republic last Friday. Police said violence flared when stewards tried to detain a man they believed threw a firecracker. Four stewards were treated at a hospital but were not seriously injured.

Russia's fine was also imposed by UEFA's disciplinary panel because of the thrown firework and for fans displaying "illicit banners." An anti-discrimination monitoring group reported seeing nationalist flags adopted by far-right activists.

UEFA rules hold football associations responsible for their fans' behavior inside stadiums.

Some Russian fans were involved in violent clashes, largely provoked by Poles, in Warsaw on Tuesday before and during the match against the co-hosts. UEFA cannot sanction federations for incidents that occur away from stadiums.

Russia is likely to find out its Euro 2016 qualifying group - of five or six teams - in less than two years.

Euro 2016 in France has been expanded to 24 nations, meaning the two top teams in each group will automatically advance. Third-place teams should get a final chance to advance through the playoffs.

Russia's fine could be deducted from the Euro 2012 prize money and results bonuses UEFA pays to the 16 competing nations in Poland and Ukraine. The country has earned ?9.5 million ($11.9 million) so far, and would collect more than ?20 million ($25.2 million) if it wins the tournament.

Russia faces further "improper conduct" charges over its fans' behavior during a 1-1 draw with Poland in Warsaw on Tuesday.

A firecracker was thrown on the field after Russia scored, and at least six black, yellow and white "Russian Empire" flags were displayed at one end of the stadium occupied by Russian fans.

UEFA is still investigating claims that Russian fans racially abused Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie, who is black.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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