Sun, Apr 17, 2005 - Page 24 News List

Inter Milan receives fine, punishment from UEFA

AP , NYON, SWITZERLAND

Inter Milan was ordered to play its next four European cup home matches in an empty stadium as punishment for the crowd trouble that forced the Champions League quarterfinal against AC Milan to be abandoned. Inter Milan also was fined SF300,000 (192,180 euros) by UEFA.

Under the penalty, the club's next four home games in Europe -- Champions League or UEFA Cup -- must be played in a stadium without spectators. After that, if there is any crowd violence within a three-year period, Inter Milan will face the same stadium ban for two more matches.

During the second half of Tuesday night's second-leg match at San Siro, Inter Milan fans threw flares and bottles onto the field, forcing the game to be cut short with AC Milan leading 1-0. One of the flares injured Milan goalkeeper Dida.

UEFA's disciplinary body could have expelled the Italian club from European competition next season. UEFA spokesman William Gaillard suggested the punishment was stern.

"There will be some people who think that it is lenient and other people who think that it is harsh," he told BBC radio.

"This is the highest fine in the history of UEFA and the loss of four home games will mean they lose out on revenue for around 8 million euros [US$10.3 million].

"You have to put it in the context of the game. There were no further injuries apart from a very slight one to the goalkeeper, which we absolutely regret. It is a very hefty punishment compared to anything in the last five years."

UEFA awarded Tuesday's victory to Milan as a 3-0 forfeit, with the team advancing 5-0 on aggregate. Milan, which won the first leg 2-0, will play PSV Eindhoven in the semifinals. Chelsea faces Liverpool in the other semifinal.

Inter Milan has a history of crowd trouble. UEFA ordered the club to play two games away from home in 2001 after a UEFA Cup match against Alaves was abandoned when Inter fans hurled seats and bottles onto the field.

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