UEFA hammer Atletico over racism

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Football News

Atletico Madrid have been hit with a stadium ban for their Champions League match with Liverpool as UEFA handed out their heaviest punishment so far for racism.

The Spanish club have been fined 150,000 euros (£120,000) and handed a three-match stadium ban after crowd trouble and racist abuse during the game against Marseille earlier this month. Atletico coach Javier Aguirre has also been banned for his club's home and away fixtures against Liverpool for insulting Marseille players.

UEFA said the next two Champions League home games could not be played within 300 kilometres of Madrid. The third match ban will only be invoked if there is a repeat of crowd trouble or racist chanting within the next five years.

UEFA spokesman William Gaillard explained the reasons for the European governing body's stringent action, which follows Monday's announcement that England will refuse to play in Madrid when they take on Spain in a friendly - because of past racist incidents.

"I understand the fears of the players," Gaillard told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"That is exactly why we are acting with renewed strength - to make sure that in the future England players will not be threatened by this kind of behaviour."

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