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Spartak Moscow Hit With Stadium Ban for Fan Violence Ahead of World Cup

General view of riot police outside the stadium before the match Athletic Bilbao vs Spartak Moscow (Vincent West / Reuters)

Europe’s football federation UEFA has punished Spartak Moscow with a stadium ban for fan violence in the Europa League as Russia prepares to host the World Cup next week.

Russia has pledged to crack down on crowd unrest during the FIFA World Cup that begins in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on June 14 and closes there on July 15. Russia has been hit by several investigations into fan violence and racism in the past year, including repeat violations by Spartak fans.

UEFA banned ticket sales to Spartak supporters for the club’s next three UEFA matches and fined the Moscow-based club 55,000 euros ($65,000) for fan violence during Spartak’s match with Spain’s Athletic Bilbao in February,  European football’s governing body said in a statement Tuesday.

Spartak’s round-of-32 Europa League tie in Spain resulted in the death of a policeman, who died in hospital after suffering a heart attack when police were trying to stop street battles between rival supporters in the northern Spanish city.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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