Torpedo Moscow gets stadium ban for Nazi symbol display

MOSCOW -- Russian Premier League team Torpedo Moscow must play two home games in an empty stadium after fans displayed a banner with a Nazi symbol, the club's fourth racism-related punishment this season.

Torpedo fans showed the flag during a 3-1 win over Arsenal Tula on Sunday, the Russian Football Union said.

The punishment will not take effect until May because Torpedo is already required to play its next two home games behind closed doors for a separate incident in which fans abused Zenit St. Petersburg striker Hulk with monkey chants.

Sunday's game was also marred by crowd violence, with Torpedo fans attacking Arsenal supporters and police. For that, Torpedo fans will be barred from the club's next three away games, with the exception of women and children under 13.

Torpedo was fined a total of 900,000 rubles ($16,300) for various offenses including the Nazi banner, the fighting, use of pyrotechnics by fans, and insulting chants.

Arsenal received a 480,000-ruble ($8,700) fine on charges including failing to secure the stadium properly. Police detained 15 fans at the game, of which seven face charges, Russian agency Tass reported on Monday.

In response to the incidents at Sunday's game, Torpedo president Alexander Tukmanov told the R-Sport agency that the club's fans seemed to be "probably the most aggressive" of any top-flight Russian team. Torpedo's previous three racism offenses this season all involved monkey chants against opposition players.

The latest punishment comes a week after the Russian Football Union appointed its first dedicated anti-racism inspector, who is tasked with gathering evidence to punish clubs for racism-related incidents at matches.

A report by two anti-discrimination organizations last month said there were more than 200 cases of discriminatory behaviour linked to Russian football over two seasons, as the country prepares to host the 2018 World Cup.

Separately on Tuesday, Zenit coach was given a suspended one-game ban by the Russian Football Union for repeatedly breaking rules on leaving his technical area at games throughout the season.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says there is still a "lot of work to be done" to fight racism in Russia.

Reacting to Russian Premier League club Torpedo Moscow being handed its fourth racism-related punishment of the season on Tuesday, Blatter said on Twitter that "sanctions must be applied but education is equally important."

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who also chairs Russia's World Cup organizing committee, warned of "tension in the football environment" caused by racism at games. In comments to R-Sport, he suggested Russia's relations with FIFA could suffer.