CAS partially upholds UEFA ruling against Atletico Madrid

UEFA LogoLausanne, Switzerland - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) partially upheld Thursday a ruling by UEFA against Atletico Madrid, but reduced the size of the club's fine and halved the number of Champions League matches it must play behind closed dooors.

UEFA's appeals body originally fined Atletico 150,000 euros (dollars) and also ordered that two matches be played in an empty stadium (the second match behind closed doors was deferred).

However, Atletico appealed and CAS reduced the fine to 75,000 euros and held that only one match be held behind closed doors, the upcoming Champions League group match against PSV Eindhoven set for November 26.

UEFA punished Atletico for serious incidents before and during the October 1 match against Olympique Marseille.

The governing body of European football blamed Atletico for having inadequate security in place both inside and outside their stadium, and for the crowd making racist chants and noises at Marseille's black players.

UEFA also criticized the Spanish police for using excessive force when charging into the unruly sector of the Marseille fans. CAS agreed with UEFA on the main points but felt the punishment should be reduced as there was not total certainty about the alleged racist acts.

"Having examined the arguments and evidence submitted by the parties, the CAS Panel, in line with UEFA, concluded that Atletico Madrid committed several serious security breaches during the match against Olympique Marseille, which allowed the incidents to occur at the Vicente Calderon stadium," said CAS in a statement.

"The clubs situation is made worse by events of the recent past which led the Panel to uphold the sanction of playing the match on 26 November 2008 behind closed doors.

"However, the second match behind closed doors (currently suspended) was overturned and the fine was reduced by half in light of the fact that the racist acts alleged by UEFA could not be established with certainty."

Atletico was also released from paying the legal costs incurred before the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body and the UEFA Appeals Body. (dpa)

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