Sports News

Soccer: Levski hit with spectator ban over crowd violence and racism

SOFIA (Reuters) - Levski Sofia must play their next two European matches at home behind closed doors because of crowd trouble during their Europa League first qualifying round matches against Liechtenstein’s FC Vaduz, the club said on Monday.

The disciplinary panel of European soccer’s governing body UEFA also fined 26-times Bulgarian champions Levski 40,000 euros ($45,748.00) after racism and violence among fans marred the two matches last month.

“We’re punished on four articles of the regulations - for disorder, for throwing objects (onto the field), for racist behaviour and for attempted pitch invasion,” Levski’s chief executive Krasimir Ivanov told Darik radio.

“The racist slurs were recorded by the delegates of both matches. We will get the detailed information soon, but that will not change the decision.”

Levski were knocked out by Vaduz on away goals after the sides drew 3-3 on aggregate.

Angry Levski fans threw seats and some attempted a pitch invasion in the dying minutes of their 3-2 second-leg win at the Georgi Asparuhov stadium.

Levski, one of the Black Sea state’s two most popular clubs along with bitter city rivals CSKA, have a history of racism and violence at their matches.

The club, who top the standings in the Bulgarian league after six matches, have been fined several times by UEFA and the Bulgarian Football Union in the past decade.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Andrew Bolton