Updates from Tuesday, March 25
Bayern Munich have condemned the actions of those who produced a homophobic banner during the Champions League tie with Arsenal.
The Bundesliga giants have been ordered by UEFA to close a section of their ground for the quarter-final visit of Manchester United, and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge responded in a statement (h/t Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC):
We deeply regret the incident during the Arsenal game and strongly distance ourselves from this discriminating banner. Bayern Munich will never accept it.
We sadly have to accept the UEFA punishment. We will determine those responsible and after that juristically check claims for compensation against those responsible.
Daily Telegraph sports correspondent Ben Rumsby noted the news via his Twitter account:
Uefa orders partial closure of Bayern Munich stadium for Manchester United match following homophobic banner shown during Arsenal game.— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) March 24, 2014
The instruction has followed the use of a homophobic banner inside the ground during the last Champions League game against Arsenal.
The Press Association reported UEFA's statement via The Guardian:
As a result of Bayern supporters displaying an illicit banner, the Uefa control and disciplinary body has decided to order the partial closure of the [stadium] in particular, the closure of sector 124 for Bayern's next Uefa competition home match, namely their Uefa Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester United on April 9.
In further disciplinary action, UEFA has also fined Bayern €10,000 for the discrimination.
Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror noted at the time of the incident that UEFA promised to come down hard on any clubs where homophobic or racial slurs have been used, and it appears that it has followed through on that threat.
It's a blow that is sure to hit Bayern in a number of ways and football journalist Raphael Honigstein noted how clubs should deal with such actions in future.
Very strong stance from UEFA on homophobic banner at Bayern v Arsenal. Part of Allianz Arena closed for Man Utd game.— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) March 24, 2014
That should incentivise clubs to deal with such morons.— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) March 24, 2014
Whilst it is unclear at this stage just how many fans will be barred from the match against David Moyes' team, clearly it will be a significant number. The revenue that the German club will therefore miss out on compounds the actions of the minority.
Is a partial ground closure appropriate punishment for Bayern Munich?
Further, a completely full Allianz Arena represents an imposing venue for away sides. With, potentially, a few hundred—or possibly a few thousand—Munich fans missing, the consequences of a lack of atmosphere in that part of the ground, may help United.
The "12th man" that football clubs often refer to may therefore have a quieter voice than usual.
As importantly, for a club that prides itself on doing things properly, the lasting image of those fans is not the face that Bayern Munich will want the world to see.