UEFA may not penalise Lokomotiv for player’s Putin show

Moscow, Feb 18 (IANS) Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow FC is unlikely to be penalised by UEFA for its footballer’s behaviour against Turkey’s Fenerbahce, Russian sports lawyer Mikhail Prokopets has said.

Following the final whistle in the first-leg match of the Europa League Round of 32 between Lokomotiv and Fenerbahce, held at Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul on Tuesday, Russian club’s footballer Dmitry Tarasov took off his team’s jersey revealing a T-shirt with the picture of Putin captioned “The most polite president”, reports Tass.

“There is a set of Union of the European Football Associations (UEFA)’s general regulations, which are in force to all sorts of manifestations,” Prokopets said on Wednesday.

“All political messages are prohibited. Moreover, messages of all sorts are prohibited, whether they are well-or ill-intended. UEFA has repeatedly stated that a football match is not an arena for such manifestations.”

“It seems that by having put on a shirt with Putin’s image on it Tarasov tried to convey some message. The player will be subjected to a penalty and most likely it will be a suspension, but it will be up to UEFA to decide on the terms of the suspension,” he added.

“Sanctions against Lokomotiv are unlikely as the club’s staff were unable to get under his team’s jersey beforehand and check what he had been wearing underneath. The incident involves the Russian Football Union in no way at all. The match was held under the authority of UEFA.”

The UEFA announced earlier on Wednesday that it opened disciplinary proceedings in regard to Lokomotiv Moscow FC. It said in its statement that charges against Lokomotiv were opened for “Improper conduct of Lokomotiv player Dmitry Tarasov after the match.”

“Players must not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer logo,” the statement added.

The UEFA’s Control Ethics and Disciplinary Body will deal with the case on March 17, the statement added.

Lokomotiv Moscow football club announced on Wednesday that it regarded the gesture of its player Tarasov during the club’s away match as “inadmissible.”

“Unfortunately, the staff of our club had no chance of preventing this act as the footballer kept it as a secret to himself. Dmitry’s initiative turned out to be improper and harmful both for the club and himself,” the club said.

“Tarasov will be subjected to a disciplinary penalty within the frames of his personal contract with Lokomotiv FC,” the statement from the club said.

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