UEFA clears Didier Drogba, fines Lazio for racist chanting

AFP, NYON, Switzerland

Fri, Mar 01, 2013 - Page 18

Didier Drogba will be allowed to play in Galatasaray’s UEFA Champions League clash against Schalke 04 after the German club had their objections over his eligibility thrown out by UEFA on Wednesday.

Schalke, who came away from Istanbul with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their round-of-16 clash, believed that the transfer of the former Chelsea striker from Shanghai Shenhua to the Turkish side was completed after the registration deadline, but the European governing body said that the deal was completed according to the rules.

“Having examined all the documents of the case, the Control and Disciplinary Body decided to reject the protest lodged by Schalke,” a UEFA statement said.

The second leg of the tie takes place in Germany on March 12.

SS Lazio were fined 40,000 euros (US$52,600) and ordered to play their next two home games in Europe behind closed doors after their fans were accused of throwing fireworks and displaying racist behavior in their Europa League match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Thursday last week.

The Italians are set to play VfB Stuttgart on March 14 behind closed doors, as well as their next home tie.

Lazio were fined 140,000 euros in January after their Europa League group clashes against Tottenham Hotspur and NK Maribor were marred by racist chanting.

Lazio were slapped with a 90,000 euros sanction after some sections of the Rome club’s fans brandished a banner reading “Free Palestine” at the Nov. 22 game against Tottenham in Rome which finished 0-0.

Others sang “Juden Tottenham” (“Tottenham Jews” in German) at the visiting fans, whose club has a historical Jewish connection.

Lazio had previously been fined 40,200 euros after monkey chants were directed at Spurs players during the reverse fixture in London in September last year.

The Italians also received a suspended one-match stadium ban and a 50,000 euros fine for their supporters’ racist conduct in the group game against Maribor in Slovenia in December.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was banned for two European matches after being sent off in the dying moments of his team’s UEFA Champions League 2-1 win at Valencia.

The big Swede is set to miss the second leg on Wednesday, as well as the first leg of the quarter-final should PSG qualify.

Turkish side Fenerbahce must play their next Europa League home clash against Victoria Plzen on March 14 behind closed doors after their fans were charged with setting off and throwing fireworks in the match against BATE Borisov.

“The Turkish team are also excluded from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which they would qualify — this sanction is deferred for a probationary period of two years. Fenerbahce have also been fined 60,000 euros,” UEFA said.