Europa League: Uefa investigates Partizan over anti-Semitic banner

Sasa Ilic of Partizan and Ben Davies of Spurs
Tottenham and Partizan played out a scoreless draw in Belgrade on Thursday

Uefa is to open disciplinary proceedings against Partizan Belgrade after their fans displayed an anti-Semitic banner during their Europa League home draw against Tottenham.

The flag was an imitation of the logo from BBC comedy show Only Fools and Horses, with some words modified to form an offensive slogan.

Partizan, from Serbia, have apologised, saying they "fully condemn" the banner.

They added they will do all they can to "locate and ban the perpetrators".

Thursday's match ended in a 0-0 draw at Partizan Stadium.

Uefa says it is looking into the offensive behaviour of Partizan supporters, field invasions by supporters, the setting-off of fireworks and the use of a laser pointer.

The case will be dealt by the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body on Friday, 3 October.

Warning: There is a picture near the bottom of this story containing words which some readers may find offensive.

Pazrtizan said the match had been "eagerly awaited" in Belgrade.

"We watched fine performances from both teams in a fair-play, sporting atmosphere," the club added. "But this game was marred by malicious acts of certain individuals who made all the efforts from our players and our club to prove we deserve our spot in European football worthless.

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

"We fully condemn the perpetrators of this mindless act, [which is] not only of anti-Semitic nature, but one that represents hatred of Partizan and Serbia as well. In co-operation with competent authorities, Partizan FC will do everything to locate, trial and ban those perpetrators from sporting fields.

"We apologise to everyone who found themselves insulted and upset by this banner."

Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has urged Uefa to send a clear message to clubs around Europe in punishing Partizan, while European anti-discrimination body, the Fare Network, expects the punishment to involve a partial stadium closure.

"It's a fairly clear-cut case unless the club can find an argument to say it's not anti-Semitic," said Fare executive director Piara Powar.

"That seems unlikely and we would expect them to suffer a partial stadium closure for their next home game in European competition after the hearing."

Partizan Belgrade banner Europa League Tottenham
The banner was on display during Tottenham's goalless draw with Partizan Belgrade

Officials from Tottenham - who have a historical association with London's Jewish community - made Uefa aware of the banner before half-time and delegates took photographic evidence after the match.

In 2007, Partizan were thrown out of the Uefa Cup and fined for rioting during a first qualifying round first-leg clash at Zrinjski Mostar.

And it was in Serbia two years ago that Tottenham left-back Danny Rose, who did not travel with the Spurs squad for the Europa League tie, was subjected to racial abuse while on England Under-21 duty.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino insisted the defender was not left out because of what happened in Krusevac - Rose was sent off for his reaction to the abuse and there was a mass confrontation on the pitch.

Nikola Ninkovic, on the substitutes' bench for Partizan during the Group C match against Tottenham, was banned for a year by the Serbian Football Association for his part in the melee.

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