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Five fans given stadium bans over Grasshopper match

Five fans given stadium bans over Grasshopper match
FILE PHOTO: Uli Forte, Grasshopper Club Zurich soccer club coach, looks on as Stephan Rietiker, President of the club, addresses a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo   -   Copyright  Arnd Wiegmann(Reuters)
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BERN (Reuters) – Five fans have been banned from all Swiss soccer stadiums for two to five years for their part in the trouble which forced Sunday’s Swiss league match between Lucerne and Grasshopper Zurich to be called off.

The Swiss Football League (SFL) also said that one player suffered racist abuse during the incident.

Lucerne were winning 4-0, a result which would have condemned Grasshopper to relegation after 68 years in the top flight, when several dozen visiting fans threatened to storm the pitch and forced the match to be called off.

They demanded that Grasshopper players hand over their shirts and socks as they were considered not worthy of wearing them. Some shirts were handed over after negotiations with club officials.

The SFL said that two supporters who attacked a Grasshopper player had been banned along with three others who entered the pitch. It said that 57 offenders had been identified and all would eventually be sanctioned.

“Particularly shocking was the physical and verbal attack against a dark-skinned player,” said SFL chief executive Claudius Schaeffer in a statement. “We must all act together vehemently against racist thinking and any kind of discrimination.”

Although the result has yet to be confirmed, 27-times Swiss champions Grasshopper have already accepted their relegation.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)

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