We've been waiting for the official ruling from UEFA regarding "banner-gate", and we finally received it today. Europe's governing body has handed Bayern Munich a partial stadium ban and a fine for the "Gay Gunners" and "Say no to racism, Say yes to Kosovo" banners that supporters unfurled at the Allianz Arena during Bayern's Champions League match against Arsenal.
Here are the official sanctions from UEFA:
- To order the partial closure of the Fußball Arena München. Specifically, the closure of sector 124 for Bayern's next UEFA competition home match, namely their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester United FC on 9 April.
- To fine the club €10,000 for the displaying of an illicit banner.
From all of the information that I've been able to gather, the closing of section 124 for the Manchester United match is for the "Gay Gunners" banner. That is the section that the banner was held in. This was not in the Südkurve. The fine for an "illicit banner" is due to the banner about Kosovo that was held in the Südkurve. UEFA does take a strong stance against anything they deem to be a political banner.
Karl Heinz Rummenigge spoke in reference to the "Gay Gunners" banner. He pulled no punches and threatened legal action to recoup damages against those responsible.
"We regret this incident during the match against Arsenal and distance ourselves as far as possible from this discriminatory banner. This will never be accepted by Bayern Munich."
While Bayern's supporter groups quickly spoke out against the homophobic banner, it's good to see that the club is now officially on the record with the ruling from UEFA. With 700 empty seats in section 124, Bayern will be missing out on roughly €35,000 of revenue from the match. Combining the fine and the lost revenue, these few stupid fans and their offensive banner will cost the club around €45,000.
If the situation repeats itself in the future, the next level punishment against FC Bayern would be a €50,000 fine and a complete stadium ban. A third incident would see the club banned from the Champions League.
We know that this banner doesn't represent FC Bayern or its supporters. Pro-LGBT banners and flags are regular occurrences in the Südkurve, and the club has an official LGBT fanclub. If you missed Queerpass' response to the homophobic banner, please read it here.
The fight to kick discrimination out of the game continues. Let's hope Bayern can find those responsible and punish them accordingly.