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UEFA rap 'very difficult' on biggest night - Slavia


EURO BID: Maurizio Sarri. Pic: AP

EURO BID: Maurizio Sarri. Pic: AP


EURO BID: Maurizio Sarri. Pic: AP

Slavia Prague bosses believe UEFA punishments will take the shine off their "match of the decade" against Chelsea.

Three sections of Slavia's Sinobo Stadium will be closed to fans for Chelsea's Europa League quarter-final first leg visit to Prague tonight.

Slavia were fined €40,000 by UEFA and had the one-match partial stadium closure imposed after supporters set off fireworks, threw objects onto the pitch and blocked stairways in the goalless draw with Genk on February 14.

President Jaroslav Trvdik asked to attend Slavia's pre-match press conference and then dominated proceedings with extended grandstanding.

"This is very difficult, because the fans who weren't able to get to the stands are very angry," said Tvrdik.

"Everybody thinks we can do something special for them. I'm really, really sorry about this.

"I've had about 150 phone calls and text messages. It's the match of the decade and the fact people are not able to be there is very sad.

"I am very optimistic we are on the same page that there is zero tolerance to the things I have stated tomorrow and that the match tomorrow will pass off without incident.

"I hope we'll have an opportunity to show everybody that we deserve our place.

"We will look to equip the stadium with facial recognition cameras (in future) and we may ban people who cause trouble.

"I hope that everything will go well and we'll be able to enjoy the match tomorrow. Our players will be playing behind covered stands for the very first time.

"I would like to urge all the fans to support their team and players to show that our team is big and international and also that we have big international fans. In the three years I've been working with the club we are in this situation for the first time.

"We will do everything we can to make sure football at this stadium is safe.

"I am positive it will not just be a one-time thing and it will be more than just the match against Chelsea."

Chelsea's appeal against a two-window transfer ban relating to recruitment of overseas players aged under 18 will be heard by FIFA today.

The Blues insisted they were "astonished" by the suspension and still aim to have that embargo overturned.

And boss Sarri insisted he will ban any talk of that hearing before the clash.

Asked if he would seek updates on the appeal hearing, Sarri said: "Not before the match, for sure. We are here for the Europa League, a very important target for us, and I want my players to think only about the Europa League."