UEFA orders Atletico to play in empty stadium | sports | Hindustan Times
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UEFA orders Atletico to play in empty stadium

sports Updated: Nov 01, 2008 11:39 IST

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Atletico Madrid must play its next Champions League home match in an empty stadium because of its fans' racist abuse of opposing players.

UEFA imposed the punishment on Friday after investigating allegations Atletico fans were racist and violent at an October 1 match against French club Marseille.

A UEFA appeal panel said Atletico must play Dutch club PSV Eindhoven at Vicente Calderon Stadium on Nov 26 with no spectators present. A penalty of playing a second match behind closed doors was deferred for two years.

But Atletico's lawyer said the club would look at challenging the verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"We don't think they have any proof to state that we are a racist club," Juan de Dios Crespo told The Associated Press.

Atletico had appealed a previous punishment to play two Champions League home matches at least 300 kilometers (185 miles) from Madrid. A stadium ban for a third match had been deferred for five years.

The new verdict was handed down by a three-man UEFA panel after a hearing lasting more than seven hours.

It upheld two further punishments that were part of the original ruling from UEFA's control and disciplinary body.

Atletico's Mexican coach Javier Aguirre remains banned for the next two Champions League matches at Liverpool next week, and the November 26 meeting with PSV for insulting a Marseille player.

The club was also fined 150,000 euros (USD 191,000).

Atletico is one of the first clubs punished since UEFA president Michel Platini ordered a crackdown on racist and violent incidents this season.