UEFA announced on Monday that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Cristiano Ronaldo, following the Juventus striker’s phallic celebration of his tie-clinching goal against Atlético Madrid in the round of 16 of the Champions League last week.
Ronaldo mimed having sex with the air after scoring his hat trick goal that gave Juventus a 3-2 aggregate advantage, enough to get them into the quarterfinals of the competition:
Ronaldo’s celebration was seemingly in direct response to Atlético manager Diego Simeone’s ball-grabbing display in the first leg, after the Spanish side took a 2-0 lead in its home stadium. UEFA fined Simeone €20,000 ($22,689) for his celebration, though he did not receive a touchline ban for the second leg.
UEFA’s Monday announcement is pretty cut-and-dry, acknowledging that its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will meet to discuss the case on Thursday:
Following a disciplinary investigation conducted by a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector, in accordance with the Article 55 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR), disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between Juventus Football Club and Club Atlético de Madrid, played on 12 March in Italy.
Charges against Juventus Football Club:
- Improper conduct of player Cristiano Ronaldo – Art. 11 (2) (b) and Art. 11 (2) (d) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations
The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will deal with this case at its next meeting on 21 March.
The relevant articles of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations describe improper conduct as such:
For example, a breach of these principles is committed by anyone:
b. whose conduct is insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent conduct
d. whose conduct brings the sport of football, and UEFA in particular, into disrepute
Should it find Ronaldo in violation of the rule, it’s a safe bet UEFA will hand Ronaldo a fine similar to the one Simeone received. Those fans (mostly Ajax supporters, who will face Juventus in the quarterfinals) who wanted an on-the-field suspension for the highest-scoring player in Champions League history should not hold their breath; considering that this was not a violent act, it would be hard for UEFA to justify a suspension.
While a fine of this magnitude is chump change to Ronaldo, who at latest check is worth over $450 million, it is notable that this will not be the first time he has had to cut a check in order to make a problem go away.