Paris Saint-Germain s Spanish coach Luis Enrique (C) consoles his players after the UEFA Champions League Group F football match between Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain at St James Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on October 4, 2023. AFP
Ousmane Dembélé, Achraf Hakimi, Randal Kolo Muani and Layvin Kurzawa were questioned by the commission after they were filmed using insults while celebrating at the end of a 4-0 win against Marseille. The four players issued apologies.
The match at the Parc des Princes was also marred by homophobic chanting by sections of Paris Saint-Germain fans targeting Marseille players. As a result, the league ordered late Thursday the closure of the Auteuil stand for two matches, including one suspended.
“The club regrets that the committee has opted for an excessive and collective measure likely to undermine the dialogue and prevention work undertaken by the club with associations, institutions and supporters,” PSG said in a statement, adding that it would not appeal the sanction.
French clubs have been sanctioned with fines, and the league’s disciplinary commission also ordered the closure of stands for similar cases in recent years. Also, French law provides for up to one year’s imprisonment and a 45,000 euros ($47,600) fine when homophobic comments are made in public.
The racist insults during the biggest game of French football had prompted calls for sanctions.
Homophobic chants, often heard at French league matches, have been tolerated for a long time by many club officials, and soccer authorities have struggled to find appropriate ways of tackling the issue.
Following a match at the Parc des Princes four years ago between PSG and Marseille during which some home fans used homophobic chants, the French league launched an action plan allowing spectators to report sexist, homophobic or racist incidents they witness. The abuse has not stopped, though.
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