'Petty' UEFA launch probe after City fans boo official anthem
UEFA found itself a laughing stock last night after opening disciplinary proceedings against Manchester City for their fans' booing of the Champions League anthem.
Fans mocked European football's governing body after it confirmed a case had been opened against the Premier League leaders following a report from its match delegate at their 2-1 win over Sevilla on Wednesday evening. The chairman of the Manchester City Supporters Club branded Uefa "petty", suggesting it would be better off focusing on the scandal over a £1.3m payment that has engulfed its president, Michel Platini.
City were stunned to learn they could be punished over the booing, which has become a regular occurrence prior to Champions League games at the Etihad Stadium since the club were sanctioned for breaching UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations last year.
UEFA was keen to stress the disciplinary case would not necessarily lead to a sanction.
The man who reported City over the booing, Icelandic Football Association president Geir Thorsteinsson, refused to discuss his reasons for doing so.
"I'm not allowed to speak about my reports to Uefa," he said.
The Champions League anthem is played before every fixture in the competition using music adapted from Handel's Zadok the Priest and words provided by English composer Tony Britten.
City fans began booing it last season after the club were hit with a fine of £50m - most of which was suspended - and a squad reduction of 25 to 21 for breaching FFP regulations.
Supporters believe the rules were introduced to favour European football's establish elite and prevent the likes of billionaire City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan buying his way into that exclusive club. Those regulations were relaxed earlier this year amid threats of legal challenges.
MCSC chairman Alan Galley said: "It's all to do with this Financial Fair Play, and the fact that a lot of City fans don't think that what Uefa did was fair.
"A lot of City fans think that UEFA has had a cartel for years and years. All of a sudden, we find ourselves with a little bit of money and they don't like having their noses pushed out." (© Daily Telegraph, London)