Fury as Uefa charge Man City over Champions League anthem

Decision to report City fans for booing Uefa during build-up to the match prompts scorn and outrage

(Image credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Manchester City are facing disciplinary action from Uefa because their fans booed the Champions League anthem before the game against Sevilla on Tuesday night.

The decision by European football's governing body to charge the club, whose fans regularly jeer the anthem as a protest, has prompted scorn, derision and outrage.

It is an "absurd, unprecedented action" says Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail, which amounts to "a curb on the freedom of speech and protest at football matches".

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City are taken aback by the decision, adds the Daily Telegraph and "stunned to learn they could be sanctioned over such a trivial matter."

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The decision to take action comes even though Uefa are in "disarray", notes Samuel in the Mail. Uefa president Michel Platini has been banned from football for 90 days over an alleged corrupt payment from tainted Fifa boss Sepp Blatter, and acting president Angel Maria Villar Llona and Franz Beckenbauer are also under investigation from Fifa's ethics committee amid claims that Germany won the right to host the 2006 World Cup unfairly.

"In this rotten climate, Uefa have decided to pursue Manchester City... angered that the fanfare that precedes Champions League matches is not treated with due reverence," sniffs the Mail.

The music, familiar to football fans around the world, is an adaptation of Handel's Zadok the Priest, with words by English composer Tony Britten, and is played in grounds and during TV coverage of the competition.

City boo the tune after their club was fined by Uefa for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.

Bayern Munich fans are among other sets of supporters to have expressed their frustrations with Uefa by targeting its theme tune.

Manchester City will "fight the charge" and "stand up for their fans' right to peacefully make their views known on the European governing body", reports local paper the Manchester Evening News.

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