T-Mobile, general partner of Czech Republic's Sparta Prague football club, calls meeting with their leadership over their fans' racism
The telecommunications operator T-Mobile has called for a meeting with the leadership of Sparta Prague because of the racist behavior committed by some of their fans during Tuesday's match of the third preliminary Champions League round with Monaco (0:2) in Prague. T-Mobile is the club's general partner for both UEFA competition and the domestic cup and is demanding that the club investigate the incident and inform them of the concrete measures to be taken against such displays by their fans.
T-Mobile informed the public of its action through Twitter. As of yesterday evening, Sparta Prague had yet to issue an official statement.
Monaco players, including their trainer Niko Kovač, complained to the referee about the behavior in the stands targeting Aurélien Tchouaméni, who scored the first goal at the 37 minute mark. The announcer for the match warned the home side that if they repeated their racist insults the match might be called off.
After a roughly three-minute interruption, play continued, but after the final whistle, insults could again be heard from the stands. The Sparta Prague players said goodbye to their fans from the main tribunal only and did not go into the stands to thank them for coming.
Sparta Prague captain Bořek Dočkal was the only player to head for the fans in the stands for a brief moment, where he reportedly did his best to appeal to them to stop their racist behavior. T-Mobile's statement on the incident reads as follows: "The behavior of some of the Sparta fans is alien to us and absolutely against our values. We are calling the club leadership to a meeting. Not only will we want them to investigate this racist incident, we will want to hear what measures the club wants to take now."
Problems with racism appeared for Sparta Prague during the league's opening round against defensive universal Florent Poulol, who plays for Olomouc, and after that match the disciplinary commission of the Football League Association opened a proceedings against Sparta Prague. Poulol, a 24-year-old native of Martinique, had wanted to stop playing after the incident, but ultimately played through to the end of the match with support from his teammates.
Sparta Prague have had to pay a price in the past more than once for their fans' behavior. After a European League match at home against Inter Milan during the 2016-2017 season where fans shouted racist speech, part of the stadium was closed for the subsequent match against Be'er Sheva of Israel.
Fans of Sparta Prague then caused unrest during the follow-up match in Milan that season and were banned from the February opening match of the second round of the playoffs in Rostov-on-Don in the Russian Federation. In the summer of 2018, fans of Sparta Prague committed indecency during both matches of the second preliminary round of the European League against the Serbian club Spartak Subotica.
In 2019, a home match in the third preliminary round of the European League against Trabzonspor of Turkey had to be held without any fans in the stands at all. Moreover, the disciplinary commission of UEFA levied two fines of EUR 50 000 each against Sparta Prague.
Problems with the behavior of their fans have also been experienced by yet another Prague-based club, Slavia. During the 2018-2019 season they were fined EUR 20 000 when their fans rioted during a basic group match of the European League in Copenhagen.
Slavia fans were then banned from the following European League match abroad in Bordeaux. During that same season, fans of SK Union Vršovice, also from Prague, rioted and threw objects onto the pitch during the February match against Genk of Belgium and had to play their quarter-final match at home against Chelsea with part of the stadium closed.
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