LONDON, November 2 – Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has described UEFA’s investigation into booing of the Champions League anthem by his club’s supporters as “a joke”.
“It’s a joke,” Kompany said, in comments carried by several British newspapers on Monday. “We have played many games in Europe where there has been racial abuse and we have had to put up with it.
“And there have been times when we have been sanctioned in the same way as the team that was actually perpetrating those chants.”
The European governing body opened disciplinary proceedings after City fans jeered the anthem prior to last month’s home game with Sevilla, as it breached regulations concerning “disruption of the competition anthem”.
City supporters routinely boo the music in protest at what they see as unfair treatment by UEFA.
UEFA ordered City’s match at CSKA Moscow last season to be played behind closed doors as a punishment for offences — including racist abuse — by fans of the Russian club, but made no allowances for away supporters who had already made travel arrangements.
UEFA was already unpopular with City’s fans after imposing financial fair play sanctions on the club in 2014.
“In Moscow we weren’t allowed to have any support inside the stadium. I don’t see what our fans did wrong,” Kompany added, ahead of his side’s Group D game at Sevilla on Tuesday.
“I have experienced it as well when I was a kid playing at Anderlecht, certain games in Europe where you had a lot of racial abuse.
“So in that sense this is not justifiable — there is nothing holy about the Champions League anthem.
“UEFA can do what they want to do, but in the end if people feel it’s the right thing to do, they have the right to do it. How else can they show their frustration and somehow have a voice that matters?
“The fact that we were given the sanction is actually drawing more attention to what they are trying to do. We support our fans.”
The matter will be discussed at a meeting of UEFA’s disciplinary body on November 19 and a charge could follow.