Sparta Prague fans skip match to protest against migrant donations

Reuters , Thursday 1 Oct 2015

Hard-core fans of Sparta Prague plan to skip an Europa League match with Apoel Nicosia on Thursday in protest over European clubs' plan to donate one euro ($1.12) from every ticket sold to aid migrants arriving to Europe

The European Club Association (ECA) last month asked all clubs playing in the Champions League and Europa League to make the donations after first round home games played in September and early October.

The Ultras Sparta fan legion said on its Facebook page that the group "after long debate decided to distance itself" from the match because of the decision concerning help for refugees "momentarily flooding the old continent".

"We are aware that we will weaken our players on the pitch but we will not accept dirty practices of organisations like the ECA and UEFA, which on one hand punishes politics in sports but then forces it on us," the group said on its Facebook page.

"We can live with losing 3 points, but we cannot lose Europe."

A spokesman for Sparta was not immediately available for comment.

The European Union has struggled to come together to handle a growing wave of refugees fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, a crisis that intensified in the past month and strained diplomatic ties between the bloc's emerging east and bigger western nations like Germany.

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