Supposed Arsenal boost for Napoli killed off via paltry fine

Napoli will hold their game with Arsenal in the Champions League with a full stadium.

The Guardian reported this week that Arsenal could receive a boost for their potential Champions League decider against Napoli as UEFA were considering making them play the tie behind closed doors.

They wrote: "Uefa have almost concluded their investigation into the crowd trouble that marred Napoli's home win against Marseille two weeks ago and the fear in Naples is that the governing body will make an example of them and impose a ban on all supporters for the final Group F fixture against Arsenal on 11 December."

However fresh reports state that instead of an empty stadium awaiting the Gunners, the San Paolo will be sold out for the Gunners' visit.

Football Italia report: "According to the latest reports from within the club, Napoli’s appeal was accepted and any punishment is worked into a €25,000 fine."

A different report from Tuttomercato carries the same message but disagrees on the figure: "The UEFA disciplinary committee has decided that the match between Arsenal and Napoli at the San Paolo 11 December will be played in normal circumstances.The committee has decided to fine the club heavily Naples - €55,000."

We'd disagree with their use of the word 'heavily', the fine is a paltry one although not inconsistent with UEFA, and around a third of the figure Napoli would pay star striker Gonzalo Higuain in wages.

Having to do without a raucous atmosphere would have been a nice bonus for Arsenal, although expecting UEFA to take a hard line on poor fan behaviour was always a long shot. 

If Arsenal and Napoli both win their next matches against Marseille and Dortmund then both clubs will have already qualified by time they meet. Any other results and the final match in the tightest of groups will be all to play for.

image: © luigig

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