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Zenit hit hard after crowd trouble

Russian champions fined for illegal use of firecrackers and abusive chanting

Gulf News

Moscow: The Russian football federation on Thursday came down hard on reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg, ruling that they lost their last match 3-0 against Dynamo Moscow after it was abandoned due to crowd trouble.

The western Russian side were told to pay a 600,000-rouble (Dh69,787) fine for the illegal use of firecrackers and abusive chanting. They were also ordered to play their next two domestic league matches behind closed doors.

The sanction came after Zenit’s match away to Dynamo Moscow on Saturday was abandoned in the 36th minute after home goalkeeper Anton Shunin was injured by a firecracker thrown by the visiting team’s fans.

Dynamo had taken the lead in the 27th minute of the game through a Vladimir Granat freekick but referee Alexei Nikolaev called a halt to the game nine minutes later after Shunin was hurt.

“We took the decision basing on the existing regulations,” the Russian football federation (RFU) disciplinary panel deputy chief Artur Grigoryants said. “According to the code the abandoned league matches should never be replayed.”

Zenit general manager Maxim Mitrofanov said the club will appeal the ruling.

Dynamo, meanwhile, were also fined for not preventing the crowd trouble. They were ordered to pay 580,000-roubles and play one home match behind closed doors.

The decision does not affect the position of both clubs in the league: Zenit remain third, with the same number of points as Rubin Kazan but a better scoring record; Dynamo stay in 10th place.

Zenit held Spanish side Malaga 2-2 at home on Wednesday in a Champions League stalemate that could yet see the Russian side progress from Group C to the competition’s knock-out stages.

In Saturday’s violence, Russian authorities in the capital said they detained 53 Zenit fans, including the person who allegedly threw the firecracker.