Newly promoted Russian Premier League team Torpedo Moscow have been ordered to play two home games in an empty stadium after fans displayed a banner with a Nazi symbol. Despite their struggles on the pitch for the majority of the season, their supporters have seemingly done little to help the clubs’ performances and ultimately, their actions have led to the club’s fourth racism-related punishment this season.
If we cast our mind back to their crucial relegation clash with rivals Arsenal Tula, the Torpedo Moscow following caused a worldwide stir when a section of their traveling support displayed what seemed to be a flag highlighting a ‘Nazi’ symbol. Unfortunately for the club, the team’s eventual 2-1 victory away from home in what on the scheme of things was an important game in terms of league survival, was overshadowed by the small section of supporters who for me seem hell bent on giving the club a bad name.
Meanwhile, it must be remembered in the light of recent events that the club are already in the middle of a separate ban following a previous incident in which fans abused Zenit St. Petersburg striker Hulk with has monkey chants, an incident which former Tottenham Hotspur boss and current Zenit St. Petersburg manager Andre Villas Boas rightly branded a ‘disgrace’. Due to this previous ban, the ban imposed by the Russian federation will therefore not commence until May and will see the club play behind closed doors for another two matches.
Crowd violence that was visible in Tula has also seen the club imposed with another penalty for their away fans and consequently they’re not allowed to attend two away games with the exception of women and children under the age of thirteen. And if we venture back to November, Torpedo fans were also found guilty of aiming chants at Rostov’s black players and of racially abusing Dynamo Moscow’s Christopher Samba in September, resulting in part of their ground being closed for subsequent matches.
In response to the incidents at Sunday’s game, Torpedo president Alexander Tukmanov spoke to R-Sport agency, suggesting that the club’s fans seemed to be ”probably the most aggressive” of any top-flight Russian team. And with on looking countries looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup, incidents like those mentioned will most definitely and sadly cast doubts in the minds of potentially traveling supporters will to travel to Russia for the coveted tournament.
Article written by: @FNN_Official