Vincent Kompany backs Manchester City fans in anthem protest against UEFA
Vincent Kompany believes it is a joke that UEFA is investigating Manchester City over the booing of the Champions League anthem. City fans have had a number of issues with UEFA in the past – not least the financial fair play sanctions imposed on the club in summer 2014 – but ill feeling increased considerably over a game in Russia in October last year. UEFA ordered City’s match at CSKA Moscow to be played behind closed doors as a punishment for repeated offences – including racial abuse – by fans of the Russian club. No allowances were made for City supporters who had already made visa, travel and accommodation arrangements. Kompany thinks City fans have every right to protest in the way they have and points out players sometimes have to deal with far worse booing. The Belgium defender said: “It’s a joke. We have played many games in Europe where there has been racial abuse and we have had to put up with it. “And there have been times when we have been sanctioned in the same way as the team that was actually perpetrating those chants. “In Moscow we weren’t allowed to have any support inside the stadium. I don’t see what our fans did wrong. “I have experienced it as well when I was a kid playing a Anderlecht, certain games in Europe where you had a lot of racial abuse. So in that sense this is not justifiable – there is nothing holy about the Champions League anthem. “UEFA can do what they want to do, but in the end if people feel it’s the right thing to do, they have the right to do it. How else can they show their frustration and somehow have a voice that matters? “The fact that we were given the sanction is actually drawing more attention to what they are trying to do. We support our fans.” UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings after the matter was mentioned in the report of the match delegate at the Sevilla game on October 21. It will be considered at a meeting of the disciplinary body on November 19 and a charge could follow. Before then, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have more pressing matters as they return to Champions League action with their return clash against Sevilla on Tuesday. City now have six points in Group D – one behind leaders Juventus – after back-to-back wins over Borussia Monchengladbach and the Spanish side. Kompany is determined to maintain the momentum and help City establish themselves among the European elite. The 29-year-old said: “For us as players, it’s the last thing we have to achieve in order to prove we have become a big club. “In England it is undoubted that over the last four or five years we have been amongst the top teams, but in Europe that has not been the case yet. “I do understand why the Premier League is so important as it is so hard to win, and I understand we have to go to the next level in Champions League. It’s easy to say but very difficult to do. “We will be patient but if we have a good day we can beat any team. Hopefully we can go to Seville with a positive attitude.” Press Association City were reported to the European governing body under regulations concerning the “disruption of the competition anthem” after fans jeered during its playing prior to last month’s home game against Sevilla. This was not a new occurrence, with City supporters having regularly shown their disapproval of UEFA in such a manner over the past year.