UEFA has lifted the ban on supporters for Manchester City's Champions League round-of-16 clash with Dynamo Kiev on Feb. 24, allowing fans to attend the match in Ukraine.
Sky Sports News HQ reported the news on Tuesday:
Sky Sports News HQ @SkySportsNewsHQ
BREAKING: UEFA lifts ban on supporters for Champions League round of 16 first leg between Dynamo Kiev and Manchester City #SSNHQ2016-2-2 18:08:06
Dynamo were forced to play three European matches behind closed doors as punishment for racist behaviour from their fans, per the MailOnline's Chris Wheeler.
The punishment was doled out after a group-stage match against Chelsea, marking the second time in two seasons City would be forced to play an away match in Europe without the presence of their fans.
But per Wheeler, CSKA Moscow supporters found a way into the stadium last season regardless, and the Citizens were hopeful the same wouldn't happen this year. Furthermore, City fans hoped the ban would be lifted as, for the second straight year, they would be punished for something they didn't commit.
As shared by Blue Tuesday, citing BBC Radio Manchester, former City player David White weighed in on the matter:
Blue Tuesday @BBCBlueTuesday
Former #MCFC winger @david_white7 discussing Dynamo Kiev's spectator ban... Listen: https://t.co/JWgo3Da3TT https://t.co/EbTerd0y8X2015-12-15 18:39:19
It now seems UEFA has listened and has reduced the three-match ban. Football commentator John Bradley hopes the Ukrainian fans have learned their lesson:
John Bradley @JBcommentator
UEFA lifts stadium ban on supporters attending Dynamo Kyiv v Manchester City in Champions League. Hopefully lessons have been learnt2016-2-2 18:14:46
One has to wonder whether the decision to lift the ban defeats the purpose of the initial punishment altogether. The Guardian's Rajeev Syal wrote a lengthy article on the problems Ukrainian football has with racism back in 2012, and whichever steps were taken then clearly didn't produce the desired results.
The ban CSKA Moscow received last season also didn't stop a portion of Dynamo fans from making headlines for the wrong reasons during the 2015-16 campaign.
While City fans should rejoice that they will now have the opportunity to see their favourite team in action in Ukraine should they choose to, UEFA's decision to announce the ban has been lifted just a few weeks before the match means there's little time left to order tickets and make travel arrangements.