Ex-FIFA official says Spurs may be ‘in trouble’ with UEFA after footage emerges

Champions League
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Former FIFA and Premier League referee Keith Hackett has said that Tottenham may be forced to play behind closed doors after footage emerged of spectators clashing with stewards during their clash with Marseille last week.

Tottenham’s 2-0 win last Wednesday in their Champions League season-opener was marred by clashes toward the end of the game, with videos doing the rounds on social media showing riot police being deployed to get the away section under control.

The Evening Standard subsequently revealed that five arrests were made for a variety of offences including possession of an offensive weapon, affray, drunk and disorderly, and drugs.

The report claimed that missiles and bottles were thrown towards the end of the game, with some away fans alleged to have clashed with riot police, and one officer said to have suffered a broken arm.

Hackett believes that Spurs might be in trouble as UEFA tend to take these kinds of incidents seriously. He added that European football’s governing body are determined not to let English clubs off the hook.

When asked about the footage, Hackett told Football Insider: “I think Tottenham are probably in trouble.

“What we have to understand is there is a match delegate appointed by UEFA. Usually, it’s a guy with a strong administrative background. He’s there as the contact between the clubs and UEFA, he’s the UEFA man at the stadium.

“Part of his remit is to report on various things. He’ll do a walk around the stadium before the game to ensure that enough gates are open, access into the stadium is OK and there are no problems externally.

“This is a real problem. Two sets of fans were throwing things at each other. The first question is UEFA will look to see if there’s a history of Tottenham Hotspur in this area. Has there been any previous problems with ground security and incidents of this kind?

“If there isn’t then Tottenham can expect a substantial fine. If they have got previous Tottenham could well be in for a closure of the ground, no spectators in.

“UEFA are really keen on that particular scenario. They will be investigating it. The disciplinary panel will be looking at the number of security people, the pre-planning arrangements, and where was the security. We know security came in with the helmeted police officers coming in.

“Watch this space. Usually, UEFA take a dim view of this type of behaviour. When it’s an English club they get microscopic.”

Spurs Web Opinion

There is simply no history of Tottenham’s home crowd clashing with the police and throwing missiles during European games.

The Marseille ultras, on the other hand, do have a history of such behaviour and there is plenty of evidence pointing to who the instigators were last Wednesday.

For UEFA to punish Tottenham and let the Ligue 1 club off the hook for these incidents, would be ridiculous.

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