Basel ordered to play Europa QF in empty stadium
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has punished Basel for fan hooliganism by ordering the Swiss club to play its home Europa League quarterfinal against Valencia in an empty stadium.
UEFA said its disciplinary panel on Wednesday deferred a second stadium-closure order for a two-year probationary period.
Basel fans forced play to be stopped by throwing fireworks on the pitch during its 2-1 victory at Salzburg last Thursday.
The referee took the teams to the dressing rooms for several minutes during the first half of the last-16, second-leg match.
Basel advanced 2-1 on aggregate, and hosts Valencia in the first leg on April 3.
Basel must also pay a 107,000 euro ($148,000) fine. UEFA typically imposes bigger fines when broadcast schedules are disrupted.
The sanction also included a charge of “improper conduct of the team” because Basel players got one red card and four yellows against Salzburg.
The club can appeal.
The incident is the second time the Swiss champion’s match has been delayed in UEFA competitions this season.
Greenpeace activists abseiled from the roof of Basel’s St. Jakob Park stadium in October, briefly halting a Champions League match against Schalke. The protest was targeted at Russian oil and gas firm Gazprom, which sponsors Schalke and the Champions League.
Still, UEFA fined Basel 30,000 euros (then $41,000) because home clubs are responsible for security at their stadiums.