Sport Soccer

Friday 18 October 2019

Tottenham feel UEFA’s punishment of Barcelona is too lenient

The Catalan giants were fined £17,546 by the governing body for “insufficient organisation” during December’s Champions League contest.

Tottenham fans were attacked by stewards in their Champions League match at Barcelona in December (Nick Potts/PA)
Tottenham fans were attacked by stewards in their Champions League match at Barcelona in December (Nick Potts/PA)

By Jonathan Veal, Press Association Sport

Tottenham have “grave concerns” over the suitability of UEFA’s punishment to Barcelona after stewards attacked their fans during a Champions League match at the Nou Camp.

The LaLiga side were handed a 20,000 euro (£17,546) fine by the governing body on Friday for “insufficient organisation” during the Group B game between the two teams in December.

The charge relates to the conduct of their stewards, with video footage emerging on social media after the game apparently showing a section of fans being struck with batons inside the ground, while other supporters were also filmed getting struck on the way into the stadium.

The club, in co-ordination with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, compiled evidence to hand to UEFA, which resulted in Friday’s punishment.

But Spurs feel the sanction is too lenient.

“The safety and well-being of our supporters is paramount to the club when travelling both domestically and overseas,” the club said in a statement released to Press Association Sport.

“The treatment our fans received in Barcelona some six months ago was completely unacceptable, something UEFA has acknowledged, and some are still recovering as a result of this ordeal.

“We went to great lengths, along with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, to gather evidence so UEFA could take appropriate action.

“We thank them for assisting us in gathering the necessary information.

“No visiting supporters should have to experience what our fans went through that night again.

“We have grave concerns, however, that the punishment imposed will not act as enough of a deterrent to avoid a repeat.”

The supporters’ trust was far more damning in its assessment.

“The charge against Barcelona was “insufficient organisation”,” it said in a statement.

“To be clear, that night saw unprovoked, indiscriminate assaults on our fans by stadium security forces outside and inside the stadium.

“Evidence of those assaults has been widely circulated on video so there can be no doubt about the facts.

“We submitted a detailed dossier of accounts from supporters who were caught up in that night’s violence.

“That was submitted, alongside a formal complaint from THFC and observations from the FA observer present, to UEFA in the immediate aftermath of the game. It has taken UEFA nearly six months to come to a decision.

“The fine imposed on Barcelona is less than some of our fans who have been left unable to work as a result of being assaulted will lose in earnings.

“It is twice the amount THFC has been fined for the team allegedly arriving on the pitch late for a game last month. And it is an inconsequential amount for a club as rich as Barcelona.

“This decision by UEFA sends clear signals. It says supporters are fair game for security staff to do what they want to.

“It says that broadcast rights and kick-off times are more important than supporter safety. And it says UEFA is unfit for purpose.

“We share the grave concerns of our club that the punishment imposed will not act as enough of a deterrent to avoid a repeat.

“THST will be taking advice, including legal advice, on our next steps. We are determined to secure justice for our fans.

UEFA did not comment on either statement when contacted by Press Association Sport.

PA Media

The Left Wing: Welcome to Irish rugby's biggest week - is an upset on the cards?

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport