If you thought you heard unfamiliar chants inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during Tuesday’s 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade, you’re correct. Despite UEFA banning Red Star fans from being able to purchase tickets to the Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur, officials say that around 200 Red Star supporters got in anyway.
That means that the Red Star fans inside the stadium had purchased or obtained the tickets from Tottenham fans or scalpers. And Tottenham is NOT happy about it.
UEFA had officially banned sales of tickets to Tuesday’s match on the open market to Red Star supporters as a punishment for past incidents of racism. However, according to the Independent, a sizable contingent of Serbian fans were able to procure tickets to the match, and ended up congregating in one section of the North Stand in order to be together.
Now, Spurs have announced that they are opening a “full investigation” as to how this happened, and has warned Spurs fans who may have sold their tickets on the gray market that violators will be punished severely. A Spurs spokesperson said the following:
“Red Star supporters illegally obtained individual tickets on Level 5 and made their way around to one section of the stadium in order to congregate as a group. Stewards and police contained the group as it was too large a number to eject. We have launched a full investigation in order to understand how tickets have been acquired.
“We shall take the strongest possible action against any individual found to have sold their ticket on.”
It’s not clear what punishment violators will receive if they are proven to have sold their tickets to a Red Star fan, but those punishments could include revocation of their season ticket privileges or an outright stadium ban.
As far as I can tell there were no serious incidents of fan violence or racism in Tuesday’s match, but it’s possible that news could trickle out over the coming days. Regardless, it’s not a good look for Spurs — the stadium wasn’t sold out on Tuesday evening, but even with empty seats available it should not have been possible for that many Red Star supporters to make it inside.
UEFA is waiting for a more complete report before deciding whether or not to investigate further.