UEFA punishes Partizan Belgrade over anti-Semitic banner vs. Spurs

UEFA has ordered Partizan Belgrade to play their next Europa League home game with a partial closure of their stadium after an anti-Semitic banner was displayed in their fixture against Tottenham.

The sign was branded as unacceptable by Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino after the game on Sept. 18.

UEFA has acted and told Partizan that their next fixture against Besiktas will be played with the 'K' section of their stadium shut. The club have also been fined 40,000 euros.

"The fight against racism is a high priority for UEFA,'' said a statement. "The European governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination on the field and in the stands. All forms of racist behaviour are considered serious offences against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions.

"Following the entry into force of new disciplinary regulations in June 2013, the fight against racist conduct has been stepped up a level -- resulting in stricter penalties to deter any such behaviour.''

Partizan issued an apology the day after the game, branding the offensive banner as a "mindless act'' and said that the club will endeavour to ban those found guilty of displaying the banner.

"Dear football aficionados in Serbia and Europe,'' it read. "The football match between Partizan and Tottenham was eagerly awaited in our city and we watched fine performances from both teams in a fair-play sporting atmosphere.

"But this game was marred by malicious act of certain individuals who made all the efforts from our players and our club to prove we deserve our spot in football Europe worthless.

"FC Partizan resolutely disavows with anti-Semitic banner displayed yesterday. The message displayed on that banner is completely opposite to preferences and opinions of almost all citizens of Serbia and Partizan fans.

"It is absolutely absurd to link a club that was founded after the WWII on anti-fascist principles and after the battle of people of Europe with anti-Semitism and similar dark and anti-civilisation impulses.

"We fully condemn perpetrators of this mindless act, not only of anti-Semitic nature, but one that represents hatred of Partizan and Serbia as well."