While the match between Tottenham and Partizan Belgrade ended in a scoreless draw, issues off the pitch have overshadowed a competitive Europa League matchup.
Partizan Belgrade fans were seen waving a sign that carried an anti-Semitic message during opening Europe League match last week. Tottenham reported to sign to UEFA, and the case will be discussed on October 3rd by the control, ethics and disciplinary body.
Partizan officials released a statement condemning the actions of the fans, and offered an apology to all of those who were offended.
“FC Partizan resolutely disavows the anti-Semitic banner displayed. The message displayed on that banner is completely opposite to the preferences and opinions of almost all citizens of Serbia and Partizan fans.
We fully condemn the perpetrators of this mindless act, [which is] not only of anti-Semitic nature, but one that represents hatred of Partizan and Serbia as well. In co-operation with competent authorities, Partizan FC will do everything to locate, trial and ban those perpetrators from sporting fields.
We apologize to everyone who found themselves insulted and upset by this banner.”
This is not the first time Partizan Belgrade has been punished for their fans inappropriate actions. In 2007, the club was removed from the Europa League after riots erupted following a match in Croatia.
Tottenham defender Danny Rose was also subject to racial abuse in a previous trip to Serbia with the England Under-21 squad. Rose was sent off during the match, while Nikola Ninkovic, who was on Partizan’s bench for the match against Spurs, was banned for a year by the Serbian FA for his role in the situation.
Rose did not travel with the team to the match, but manager Mauricio Pochettino said the decision was purely football related, and had nothing to do with his previous incident in Serbia.
Tottenham’s fans, who have historical ties to London’s Jewish community, have embraced opposing fan’s taunts and used them as battle cries as they rally around their squad.
Partizan Belgrade will visit White Hart Lane for the second-leg of their matchup on November 27th.