Manuel Pellegrini says Manchester City’s booing fans ‘can express what they feel’
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has backed the club’s supporters over their continued booing of the Uefa Champions League anthem.
City are the subject of Uefa disciplinary proceedings after fans continued to voice their disapproval of the European governing body prior to Wednesday’s Champions League match against Sevilla.
Fans regularly started jeering during the competition’s familiar pre-match anthem last year in protest at the financial fair play sanctions imposed on the club.
Ill feeling towards Uefa then grew after their match at CSKA Moscow last October was ordered to be played behind closed doors because of the poor behaviour of Russian supporters. Many City fans had already arranged travel and accommodation.
But “disruption of national or competition anthems” is deemed “inappropriate behaviour” a club can be liable for under article 16 of UEFA’s disciplinary regulations.
Uefa’s match delegate on Wednesday included mention of the latest incidence of widespread booing in his report and the governing body is now compelled to consider the matter. It will be dealt with by UEFA’s disciplinary committee on November 19 and the club could face a charge.
Pellegrini thinks fans have a right to protest peacefully, much as they can boo people involved in a game.
Speaking at a news conference to preview Sunday’s derby at Manchester United, the Chilean said: “I think that everyone has the right to express what they feel, with order, with respect.
“I don’t know why Uefa thinks this about our fans, but I think it’s exactly the same for the manager, or the players or the referee, they pay for their ticket and with respect they can express what they feel.”
Pellegrini also suggested he did not disagree with the reasons for the supporters’ protests.
He said: “I always say to my players the fans boo for a reason. Maybe in some moments fans can make mistakes and boo a player or manager for one action, but it’s difficult to think all the fans are making mistakes.”
Premier League fixtures (in UAE time)
Aston Villa v Swansea, 6pm
Leicester v Crystal Palace, 6pm
Norwich v West Brom, 6pm
Stoke v Watford, 6pm
West Ham v Chelsea, 6pm
Arsenal v Everton, 8.30pm
Sunderland v Newcastle, 4pm
Bournemouth v Tottenham, 6.05pm
Manchester United v Manchester City, 6.05pm
Liverpool v Southampton, 8.15pm
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Published: October 24, 2015 04:00 AM