MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Lokomotiv Moscow FC is unlikely to be subjected to penalties on behalf of UEFA regarding the club footballer’s behavior at away match against Turkey’s Fenerbahce on Tuesday night, Russian sports lawyer Mikhail Prokopets told TASS on Wednesday.
Following the final siren in the first leg match of the UEFA Europa League Round of Last 32 between Lokomotiv and Fenerbahce, held at Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul, Russian club’s footballer Dmitry Tarasov took off his team’s jersey revealing a tee-shirt with the picture of Putin captioned "The most polite president."
"There is a set of UEFA’s general regulations, which are in force to all sorts of manifestations," Prokopets said in an interview with TASS commenting on the incident. "All political messages are prohibited, moreover, messages of all sorts are prohibited whether they are well-or ill-intended."
"UEFA has repeatedly stated that a football match is not an arena for such manifestations," he said. "It seems that by having put on a shirt with Putin’s image on it Tarasov tried to convey some message. The player will be subjected to a penalty and most likely it will be a suspension, but it will be up to UEFA to decide on the terms of the suspension."
"Sanctions against Lokomotiv are unlikely as the club’s staff were unable to get under his team’s jersey beforehand and check what he had been wearing underneath," Prokopets said. "The incident involves the Russian Football Union in no way at all. The match was held under the authority of UEFA."
The Union of the European Football Associations (UEFA) announced earlier in the day that it opened disciplinary proceedings in regard to Lokomotiv Moscow FC.
UEFA said in its statement that charges against Lokomotiv were opened for "Improper conduct of Lokomotiv player Dmitry Tarasov after the match."
"Players must not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer logo," the statement said.
The UEFA Control Ethics and Disciplinary Body will deal with the case on March 17, the statement from UEFA added.
Lokomotiv Moscow football club announced on Wednesday that it regarded the gesture of its player Tarasov during the club’s away match as "inadmissible."
"Unfortunately, the staff of our club had no chance of preventing this act as the footballer kept it as a secret to himself," the club said in its statement addressed to TASS. "Dmitry’s initiative turned out to be improper and harmful both for the club and himself."
"Tarasov will be subjected to a disciplinary penalty within the frames of his personal contract with Lokomotiv FC," the statement from the club said.
Wednesday’s match in Istanbul ended with the 2-0 Fenerbahce victory over Lokomotiv. Both goals were scored by Fenerbahce’s defensive midfielder Souza in the 18th and 72nd minutes of the match.
Unprecedented security measures were observed before, during and after Wednesday’s match in Istanbul. Only a single incident was reported during the event, when Fenerbahce’s fans hurled objects at a bus carrying Lokomotiv’s fans.
The incident took place before the match, when the bus arrived at the stadium, but Turkish police, which provided escort for Russian fans, promptly thwarted the assault and detained three fans of Fenerbahce football club.
The second leg encounter of the Round of 32 between Lokomotiv and Fenerbahce had been scheduled for February 25 in Moscow.