UEFA has today imposed a partial stadium closure for one match on Paris Saint-Germain, after finding them guilty of discriminatory conduct towards disabled Chelsea FC fans.

Proceedings were opened in May under article 14 of UEFA’s disciplinary regulations for racism, other discriminatory conduct and propaganda.

The match, a UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg, was played on 2nd April in Paris, and disabled Chelsea fans had to sit below a section of home supporters who they alleged abused, threatened and threw bottles and spat at them.

CAFE Managing Director, Joyce Cook OBE, said “We welcome the determined decision taken by UEFA which sends a clear message to all clubs that abuse of disabled fans will not be tolerated.  CAFE understands that this was a particularly unpleasant incident with the Chelsea disabled fans abused and threatened by a minority of home fans whom they were confronted by based on being in the wrong place through no fault of their own. This could have happened at a number of European clubs where disabled away fans have no choice but to sit with the opposing home fans and we have had other reports of similar incidents in the past. It is discriminatory to provide a disabled person with a lesser experience and fans naturally want to sit with their own fans as a part of the match day experience. When that lesser experience leaves disabled people vulnerable and subject to abuse purely because they are disabled, then it is discrimination. If these fans had been non-disabled fans, they almost certainly wouldn’t have even been allowed into that part of the stadium. The UEFA and CAFE Access for All Guide offers clear guidance in this respect. PSG will act as one of the hosts for UEFA EURO 2016 with significant access improvements already being planned and we are looking forward to working with PSG and other clubs in a similar situation to help implement inclusive solutions that will leave a lasting legacy of the tournament for all football fans.”  

This is the first time that UEFA has charged a club with abusing disabled fans. More information about UEFA’s disciplinary division can be found at http://www.uefa.org/disciplinary/index.html.

A version of this article is also available in Polish and French.

Published 22/07/2014