July 26, 2007 / 1:52 PM / 11 years ago

Partizan barred from UEFA Cup after violence

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Partizan Belgrade have been thrown out of the UEFA Cup after crowd trouble during their first qualifying round match at Bosnian rivals Zrinjski Mostar earlier this month, the Serbian club said on Thursday.

Bosnian policemen are seen clashing with supporters of Partizan Belgrade at the end of the UEFA Cup first qualifying round match against HSK Zrinjski in Mostar in this July 19, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/Files

“The UEFA Disciplinary Committee decided at Thursday’s meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, to expel Partizan from European competition for a year and fine the club 50,000 Swiss francs,” Partizan said on their Web site.

“The decision was based on the fact that Partizan had been punished in 25 of their 36 European matches in the last five years while UEFA made it clear recently that it would take a tougher stance on violence.”

Partizan officials were not immediately available for comment on the European soccer governing body’s most drastic decision against a Serbian club to date.

Partizan’s punishment was later confirmed in a statement on UEFA’s website (www.uefa.com) which said that the club could appeal against the verdict within three days of UEFA sending out the formal grounds for its decision.

Subject to any such appeal, UEFA confirmed that Zrinjski would now progress to the second qualifying round.

Partizan have twice been made to play their home matches at a neutral venue in European competition, one of them against Celtic in Mostar in the former Cup Winners’ Cup while Bosnia was still a part of the former Yugoslavia.

Last Thursday’s trouble erupted early in the first half when play was held up for 10 minutes after rival fans clashed with riot police and security stewards while pelting each other with rocks, flares and ripped-up seats.

After the game, 36 people were injured and six arrested. Police used tear gas outside the stadium to separate the home fans from departing Partizan supporters.

Partizan had been virtually assured of progressing to the second qualifying round after winning the first leg 6-1.

Additional reporting by Mark Ledsom

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