Uefa satisfied with referee after CSKA Moscow racism row

Though abusive chants directed at Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure earned the Russian club a partial stadium closure, the official is found to have followed protocol

Uefa has ruled that referee Ovidiu Hategan did follow protocol when dealing with Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure’s racism complaint against CSKA Moscow.

The Ivorian raised the issue with the official after being subjected to taunts from home supporters during the Champions League fixture between the two sides in Russia on October 23.

European football’s governing body has a three-step plan to tackle racism, with the second being that a statement should be made over a public address system once a complaint has been levied to the referee, before potentially a match being abandoned if such instances continue, but stage two was not adhered to during the game, leading to an investigation into Hategan’s actions.

However, a ruling on Wednesday found that the Romanian followed guidelines and that the Uefa venue director for the match was at fault for failing to act on the advice and has subsequently been removed from his position.

CSKA were ordered by Uefa on Wednesday to close parts of the Arena Khimki for their next home Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich on November 27, as punishment for the incident.

On the Hategan situation, a statement on Uefa’s official website read: “The referee immediately asked the fourth official to request an announcement to be made to the public.

“The venue director [the Uefa officer in charge of football operations], who had not heard the chanting himself, did not activate the procedure. As the chanting had ceased, the referee decided to resume the game with the free kick.

“The conclusion of the investigation is therefore that the referee had correctly triggered the first step of the procedure by requesting the stadium announcement.

“The venue director acted inappropriately, though in good faith, so causing the failure in the activation of the first step of the standard procedure, as decided by the referee. The venue director at the Arena Khimki has been relieved of his duties.”

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