West Ham fans banned from Rapid Vienna clash after club decide not to appeal UEFA punishment

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

West Ham have confirmed they are not appealing UEFA’s decision to ban travelling fans from attending next week’s Europa League game at Rapid Vienna after ticketless Hammers supporters were found to have forced their way into Genk’s stadium earlier this month.

The club have also hit out at UEFA for the timing of their announcement, coming the week before fans were set to travel and after all tickets had been sold. The club will refund all supporters automatically but fans will be left out of pocket having booked travel and accommodation in Vienna.

Following notification of UEFA’s decision this week, West Ham considered an appeal but decided against it given the weight of evidence from the governing body that 150 fans had forced their way in without tickets to watch the 2-2 draw in Genk. There was also a small amount of crowd trouble inside the ground as well as flares thrown on to the pitch from the away end.

West Ham have condemned those who entered without a ticket and are now working to identify those who forced their way in, though it is unclear what action the club will take once identities have been established.

In a statement, the club said: “West Ham United can confirm that the club has reluctantly accepted sanctions from UEFA in relation to our Europa League Group H away fixture against KRC Genk on Thursday 4 November.

“West Ham United condemn the behaviour of this group of individuals and we are working to identify them following their actions, which have now ultimately led to our supporters – the vast majority of whom behaved impeccably in Belgium – being punished and resulting in David Moyes’ team being forced to play in Austria without the backing of the club’s fans.”

Addressing UEFA, the club added: “We also wish to place on record our disappointment at the extremely short notice of the measures, which were received 11 days after the fixture in Genk and just over a week ahead of the match against Rapid Vienna which has limited our options significantly, and has sadly impacted supporters who have booked return travel and accommodation in Austria. The Club has had to consider these supporters and the impact on them both for this fixture and future fixtures if this process was subject to further delays.”

There were concerns that, should the club appeal and the ban be suspended to allow supporters to travel to Vienna, West Ham would then face the possibility of fans being banned from their first away game in the knockout stages.

The club have urged those who have booked travel and accommodation not to travel to Austria amid fears that any trouble in Vienna or around the stadium could lead to further punishment by UEFA.

It is the latest issue to mark West Ham’s campaign in the Europa Legaue this season. Progress on the pitch has been comfortable, with passage to the knockout stages already secured, though there have been a number of issues off the pitch.

The Hammers had already been fined by UEFA for crowd trouble at the London Stadium during their home meeting with Rapid Vienna, while three men have been arrested by Essex Police after a video showed West Ham fans travelling to Belgium directing anti-Semitic abuse at a Jewish man on a flight from London Stansted.

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West Ham fans banned from Rapid Vienna trip over Genk crowd trouble

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