FC Basel fined over Greenpeace protest
Swiss club FC Basel were fined 30,000 euros on Thursday over crowd trouble and a high-profile protest by Greenpeace against Gazprom, the Russian energy group that sponsors their Champions League rivals Schalke.
In a statement, UEFA said its disciplinary body had decided to punish Basel for the incidents that took place on October 1st when they hosted the German club at the St. Jakob-Park stadium.
It blamed Basel for "insufficient organization" at the match, where UEFA boss Michel Platini was in the crowd.
The game was halted for several minutes after kick off when four activists from international environmental group Greenpeace abseiled from the stadium roof and unfurled a huge banner.
In a play on football and pollution, it read "Don't Foul The Arctic".
Besides taking Gazprom to task over its Arctic prospecting, the protest was meant to spotlight the fate of 30 people from a Greenpeace ship who were arrested last month during a banner protest at a Russian oil rig.
The activists, who hail from 18 countries, have been charged with piracy, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 15 years.
Among them is a Swiss man, Marco Weber, who was detained for scaling the rig.
Weber is a member and coach of the Swiss Greenpeace climbing team known for scaling protest sites to hang banners — including in Basel this April when they hit the headquarters of agrichemical giant Syngenta in an anti-pesticide protest.
The crowd trouble for which Basel were fined involved clashes between fans and police that left 23 people injured, and saw police fire rubber pellets.