September 13, 2019 17:01 GMT
The world’s governing soccer body, FIFA, has banned a former Russian sports administrator and fan club founder from all soccer-related activities for two years after he was found guilty of discrimination. FIFA on September 13 announced the ban against Aleksandr Shprygin, a former executive with the Russian Football Union (RFU).
Shprygin headed the All-Russia Supporters Association and is an ex-member of the RFU Executive Committee. FIFA said the adjudicatory chamber of its independent Ethics Committee found Shprygin “guilty of discrimination in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”
It said the investigation into Shprygin’s case gathered evidence that included statements he had made to media and content published on social media during 2014 and 2015. Shprygin was fined $10,000 and his ban is effective immediately.
In a series of tweets, Shprygin blamed the investigation on “detractors” and said the ban was related to two posts on his Instagram account. One featured a fan of the Torpedo Moscow soccer team wearing a T-shirt in support of a former player who was convicted of murder for stabbing a man to death in a street brawl. In the other, Shpyrgin posted a photograph of a hockey fan wearing a T-shirt with a banned symbol. He wrote that he “could not have known the significance of those symbols,” and indicated he would explore his options to appeal the ruling.
The Russian Football Union expelled the All-Russia Supporters Association from its organization in September 2016, citing the involvement of Russian hooligans in mass violence in Marseilles before the UEFA Euro 2016 match between England and Russia. Shprygin was among 20 Russians who were deported from France in connection with that violence. Three Russians eventually were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 1 to 2 years.
(C) RFE/RL 2019