UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Chelsea following allegations their fans sang anti-Semetic songs during the club's Europa League clash with MOL Vidi in December.

The incidents, which occurred just days after four Chelsea fans were suspended by the club after claims they racially abused Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling during the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, are said to have taken place during the 2-2 draw on December 13.

Chelsea reacted angrily at the time, releasing a statement denouncing those allegedly involved.

It read: "Anti-Semitism and any kind of racial or religious hatred is abhorrent to this club and the overwhelming majority of our fans.

"It has no place at Chelsea or in any of our communities.

"Any individuals that can't summon the brainpower to comprehend this simple message and are found to have shamed the club by used using anti-Semitic or racist words or actions will face the strongest possible action from the club."

UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will deal with this case at its next meeting on February 28, 2019.

 

AC Milan will appeal against UEFA sanctions for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations to the Court Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

After seeing a ban from this season's Europa League overturned by CAS in July, Milan have announced their intention to contest the "proportionate disciplinary measure" this month handed down by the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB).

The punishments included the Serie A giants having €12million of their revenues from the 2018-19 Europa League withheld and an order to be break-even compliant by June 30, 2021, to avoid a ban from continental competition in 2022-23 and 2023-34.

Milan were also to be restricted to registering 21 players in their squad for UEFA tournaments over the next two seasons.

However, the club confirmed on Monday they will be appealing to CAS.

A statement read: "AC Milan, after taking not of the decision issued by the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), expresses its disappointment and announces it will be appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne."

Milan were eliminated at the Europa League group stage following a 3-1 defeat to Olympiacos on December 13.

UEFA has announced it is launching an investigation into allegations that incidents of a racist nature occurred at the Europa League tie between Vidi and Chelsea in Budapest last week.

UEFA has announced it is launching an investigation into allegations that incidents of a racist nature occurred at the Europa League tie between Vidi and Chelsea in Budapest last week.

Chelsea will face Malmo in the last-32 of the Europa League, while Premier League counterparts Arsenal take on BATE.

Maurizio Sarri's men and Unai Emery's side both progressed to the knockout stages as group winners so will play their first legs away from home.

Five-time winners Sevilla face a plum tie against Lazio and four of their former players Luis Alberto, Joaquin Correa, Martin Caceres and Ciro Immobile.

Napoli are among the favourites for the trophy, having missed out at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool in a tightly contested Champions League section, and take on Zurich.

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic face a daunting task against Valencia, who drop down from a Champions League group from which Manchester United and Juventus progressed.

The draw for the last 32 of the Europa League is:

Viktoria Plzen v Dinamo Zagreb

Club Brugge v Red Bull Salzburg

Rapid Vienna v Inter Milan

Slavia Prague v Genk

Krasnodar v Bayer Leverkusen

FC Zurich v Napoli

Malmo v Chelsea

Shakhtar Donetsk v Eintracht Frankfurt

Celtic v Valencia

Rennes v Real Betis

Olympiacos v Dynamo Kiev

Lazio v Sevilla

Fenerbahce v Zenit St Petersburg

Sporting CP v Villarreal

BATE v Arsenal

Galatasaray v Benfica


The first legs will be played on February 12/14 with the returns scheduled for February 20/21.

Cesc Fabregas thinks Chelsea have been unfairly scapegoated for a wider problem of racism in football.

A small number of fans allegedly sung anti-Semitic songs during the Blues' 2-2 Europa League draw with Vidi on Thursday, prompting the club to issue a stern statement threatening "the strongest possible action" against anyone found to be responsible.

The incident occurred just three days after the club banned four supporters pending furthers investigations following allegations that Manchester City star Raheem Sterling was subjected to racist abuse at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Fabregas is happy for Chelsea to be "taught a lesson" if it leads to the eradication of such behaviour, but he feels some are unjustly targeting the club as a whole based on the actions of a minority.

"If we have to be taught a lesson at Chelsea to improve whatever happens around the world, then I'm happy. But to point the finger at one football club because of three or four of these people, I don't think it's deserved, and I don't agree with that," he said.

"It's easy to point now at the Chelsea supporters that did that. Unfortunately, this happens in many places. To point the finger at one football club, I think it's really unfair. There's an investigation, the club is dealing with this very, very well. Whatever needs to be done will be done. I've no doubt about that.
 

"When we cross the line with racism, it's too far, it shouldn't be allowed. The people that get caught, they will be punished, and they will be taught a big lesson in their lives. I hope this will help for many other reasons in life.

"All I can say is when I'm in the street, when I'm at Stamford Bridge, all over the world when we've travelled with Chelsea, they've been amazing to me and to the team.

"This is not the real face of Chelsea. I'm sorry to hear that. If something happened, it will be dealt with. The focus now is on Chelsea for what happened. Unfortunately, if we look around carefully all over the world, all sports, all football clubs, we will find things like that. The quicker we get rid of these people, the better."

Fabregas started Thursday's draw in Budapest but is not expected to be in the first XI for Sunday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, having played 90 minutes only once in the Premier League this season.

The 31-year-old has been linked with a January move to AC Milan and, although he would not discuss a possible transfer, he admitted he is unhappy with his playing time.

"I know what my role is. Unfortunately, it's not the one I want," he said.

"I'm keeping it professional as usual. I'm always trying to do my best, in the conditions, playing with the youngsters, playing with the first team, even though this year I still haven't played with the full, full first team one game. But I'm trying to do what I can.

"It's a difficult situation for me, obviously. I'm playing the cups and the Europa League. I don't give up. I'm not someone who you'll see complaining or not giving his all because of that. I'll always be there showing my face when needed and if the time comes, the time comes."

Serie A giants AC Milan will not be banned from UEFA competitions for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, providing they are able to break even in two-and-a-half years' time.

Leonardo fumed that AC Milan's Europa League elimination at the hands of Olympiacos was "unjust" due to poor refereeing decisions.

Arsenal's paucity of defensive options may not be enough to tempt Unai Emery into risking the fit-again Laurent Koscielny in Sunday's clash with Southampton.

The 33-year-old centre-back made his first appearance since rupturing an Achilles tendon in May as the Gunners beat Qarabag 1-0 in the Europa League on Thursday.

Koscielny completed 72 minutes at Emirates Stadium and would be a valuable inclusion in the weakened squad that will venture to St Mary's.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are suspended, Rob Holding has been lost to a season-ending knee injury and Konstantinos Mavropanos has not featured at all this term.

"Today is another step for [Koscielny]," Emery told reporters.

"We need to [find out] tomorrow and Saturday how he is going to feel after this match to see if he can help us on the pitch on Sunday.

"It is good he has recovered and in a good time. Every supporter and player from Arsenal is happy.

"He can take confidence again, take rhythm and then we are going to continue our process. Maybe [he can play] Sunday, but I want to wait to see how he will feel."

Arsenal's victory over Qarabag rounded out their successful Group E campaign on a high note as Emery remains in the hunt for a fourth Europa League crown.

The Spaniard handed teenage midfielder Bukayo Saka a first professional start in the straightforward win and was impressed with what he saw.

"We give young players the chance to train with us, we give chances like today when we can and they show us positive things," the Gunners boss said.

"Saka played with a good performance, with big personality. His personality is very important, [he tries] to take players on and break lines."

AC Milan deserved their Europa League exit at the hands of Olympiacos, according to coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Laurent Koscielny said his season is just beginning after making his return from a seven-month injury lay-off in Arsenal's 1-0 Europa League win over Qarabag.

Maurizio Sarri has allayed fears over the knee injury Alvaro Morata sustained in Chelsea's 2-2 Europa League draw with Vidi.

Celtic needed a huge slice of good fortune to reach the Europa League knockout rounds after slipping to a 2-1 home loss to Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday.

AC Milan crashed out of the Europa League as Konstantinos Fortounis' late penalty claimed a 3-1 win for Olympiacos, sending the Greek side through to the knockout stages.

Gennaro Gattuso's men required just a point to secure progression from Group F, but they found themselves behind when Pape Abou Cisse headed in on the hour.

With Milan's defence rocking, Olympiacos grabbed a crucial second goal when Cristian Zapata deflected Guilherme's hopeful strike into his own net nine minutes later.

Zapata immediately made amends when he bundled the ball in at the other end to make it advantage Milan courtesy of their improved head-to-head record, but, after Ignazio Abate was penalised for holding onto Vasilis Torosidis, Fortounis kept his cool to book Olympiacos' place in last 32.

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