Bulgaria v Malta to be played behind closed doors

Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 10:36

The FIFA World qualification match next March Bulgaria v Malta will be played without spectators FIFA confirmed.

The decision has been taken following a disciplinary action taken by FIFA following misbehavior by Bulgaria fans in the friendly match against Denmark played last October.

In the preliminary Competition match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ between Bulgaria and Denmark on 12 October 2012it was reported by both the referee and the Match Commissioner, that as well as two fireworks being thrown onto the pitch in the 7th minute, Denmark’s Patrick Mtiliga was subjected to racist abuse by a group of Bulgarian supporters each time he touched the ball after entering the field in the 54th minute.

In the 73rd minute, the Match Commissioner spoke to the 4th official, and a public address warning was given to the home fans by the announcer. Although the level of abuse subsided, audible racist abuse still continued until the final whistle.

Following the opening of disciplinary proceedings on 17 October 2012, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee analysed the match officials’ reports, reports from FARE, as well as the position of the BFU.

The Committee agreed that the offensive, denigratory and discriminatory actions of a small group of Bulgarian supporters, was shameful and a clear breach of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC). In addition, the incendiary devices thrown, which can pose considerable threats to personal safety, are also not tolerated.

In conclusion, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, taking into account once more the gravity of the circumstances, decided that the next home match of the ‘A’ representative team of Bulgaria in the preliminary competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil against Malta on 22 March 2013, will be played without spectators.

The Committee also decided that due to more than one incident occurring, the minimum fine outlined in art. 58 par. 2 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code was not sufficient, and imposed a fine of CHF 35,000.

The MLZS and BFU have both been warned to their future conduct, and should such incidents of a racist nature occur again, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee would be left with no other option than to impose harsher sanctions, which could go as far as forfeiting a match, a points deduction, or disqualification from a competition. The costs of each case will also be borne the MLZS and BFU.

FIFA strongly condemns all forms of racism in football, and any form of discrimination will not be tolerated and will receive a strong response by the relevant FIFA authorities.

It is not yest known whether or not Maltese fans will be allowed in to watch the game.

Photo Paul Zammit Cutajar

Photo Paul Zammit Cutajar

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