Bulgaria Faces Off Malta in WC Qualifier without SpectatorsSports | March 22, 2013, Friday // 10:00| views
File photo by fifa.com
Bulgaria will play with no audience its qualifying game on March 22 in Sofia against the team of Malta.
Fans are barred from attending after FIFA punished the Bulgarian national football team for racist behavior of local fans during a home match against Denmark in the World Cup 2014 qualifiers.
In addition, the Bulgarian Football Union will have to pay a fine of CHF 35,000.
As grounds for its decision, FIFA specified "a group of Bulgarian fans" shouting racist slogans against Danish player Patrick Mtiliga, as well as two torches thrown in the field.
The team of Hungary has also received a similar punishment for anti-semitic slogans during its game with Israel.
The October 12, 2012 game between Bulgaria and Denmark finished in a draw, 1:1.
The Bulgarian Football Union appealed against the sanction levied against it by FIFA for supporter racism, but lost.
"The appeals lodged by the Hungarian Football Federation and Bulgarian Football Union were both rejected and the decisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee rendered on 20 November 2012, are confirmed in their entirety," FIFA has said in a statement.
"Should such incidents of a racist/discriminatory nature occur again, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee would be left with no other option than to impose harsher sanctions, which could go as far as forfeiting a match, a points deduction, or disqualification from a competition."
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