FAW ‘incredibly disappointed’ as fans barred from Slovakia clash

The Football Association of Wales has expressed disappointment that travelling fans will not be allowed to attend the national team’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Slovakia after UEFA ordered it to be played behind closed doors.

Slovakia have been punished over racist chanting from supporters during their 2-1 victory in Hungary last month and, as well as being fined 20,000 euros (£17,570), have been told no spectators will be permitted at their next competitive home game.

That comes on October 10, when Ryan Giggs’ men are due to visit the Stadion Antona Malatinskeho in Trnava for a crucial Group E fixture.

An FAW statement read: “The FAW is incredibly disappointed as the impact of this decision will harshly affect our supporters who have already incurred the costs of travel and accommodation to attend this match to support the Wales national team.

“The FAW is currently making strong representations to UEFA about this unfair impact on the 2,137 fans who have purchased tickets for this match. Our supporters have an excellent reputation and do not deserve to be punished in the same way as the small section of the fans whose conduct has been reprimanded by the imposed UEFA sanction.

“The FAW is also deeply frustrated in the communication of this decision to the association, which has generated a lot of unfair frustration and uncertainty for the association and the supporters.

“UEFA has advised that the FAW is unable to appeal against the decision not to allow Wales fans into the stadium. The FAW understands that the Slovakian FA intend on submitting an appeal against the decision of the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body and will continuously monitor the situation.”

Daniel James scored Wales' winner against Slovakia in Cardiff
Daniel James scored Wales’ winner against Slovakia in Cardiff (Nick Potts/PA)

The Slovak Football Association announced the sanction – and indicated its intention to appeal – on Sunday, but it was only formally confirmed by the European governing body on Monday afternoon.

A UEFA statement read: “The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has decided: to order the Slovak Football Association to play its next UEFA competition match as host association behind closed doors, for the racist behaviour of its supporters; to fine the Slovak Football Association with 20,000 euros.”

Hungary have been hit with a similar penalty for the same offence, although the Hungarian Football Federation has been fined a total of 67,125 euros (£58,960) after also facing charges over the behaviour of its players and spectators throwing objects and setting off fireworks.

Wales, who beat Slovakia 1-0 in Cardiff in March courtesy of Daniel James’ early strike, currently sit in fourth place in the group, four points behind leaders Croatia and three adrift of both Slovakia and Hungary having played a game fewer than all three.

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