An Olympique Marseille fan was sentenced to three and a half years in prison after assaulting police officers during the Champions League match away to Atletico Madrid two months ago, a Spanish judge said on Friday. Fan Santos Mirasierra was sentenced to three years for threatening officers and six months for injuring two of them. The state prosecutor had called for a sentence of eight years for Mirasierra for assaulting police officers and public order offences. Mirasierra was acquitted of the latter. Mirasierra was given 10 days to lodge an appeal. Local media reported that he would appeal. The case has been a source of rising tension ahead of Atletico's trip to Marseille for next Tuesday's final Group D match. The Primera Liga club, who have already qualified for the knockout round, have advised their fans not to travel to avoid potential problems in the French city. Marseille chairman Pape Diouf said he was "stunned" by the sentence. "I did not think such an unfair decision would be possible in a European capital such as Madrid. This is unbearable and frightening," he was quoted as saying on the French club's website (www.om.net). "I think we need to stand back to avoid speaking too much and, most of all, to think about what to do next," he added. Atletico beat Marseille 2-1 at the Calderon on October 1, but the game was marred by clashes between police and visiting fans before kickoff. UEFA said failures in the home side's organisation of the game led to the confrontations and initially ordered Atletico to play their following two European games at least 300 km outside Madrid. On appeal, the punishment was reduced to one game behind closed doors.
5 December 2008
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