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Putin T-shirt stunt costs Russian soccer player 10 games

By Dmitry Rashnitsov   |   Feb. 17, 2016 at 10:55 AM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A Russian soccer player was suspended for 10 games by the Union of European Football Associations on Wednesday after revealing a T-shirt underneath his jersey featuring the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dmitri Tarasov, a midfielder for FC Locomotive Moscow, was penalized for improper conduct after a round of games in Turkey, where tensions have been simmering with Russia.

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The white undershirt showed a picture of Putin in his old army fatigues with the words, "The Most Polite President" written in Russian.

FC Moscow lost the game 2-0 to Turkey's Fenerbahce.

UEFA was contemplating sending the entire team home from the 32-round tournament as punishment, the Kommersant daily newspaper reported, but decided to let them stay with assurances that there would be no more political statements.

Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations prohibits "all forms of ideological, political or religious propaganda."

Sov Sport reported that police at the stadium in Istanbul arrested three people Tuesday who were involved in throwing water bottles at the FC Moscow team bus before the game.

Tarasov told the Russian Sports Daily he did not think his actions warranted such a long suspension.

"This is my president. I respect him and decided to show that I am always with him and is willing to support. This shirt says all that I wanted to say," he said.

Relations between Russia and Turkey have been strained since Turkey shot down a Russian jet in November. Turkey says the warplane was in Turkish airspace; Russia contends it was over Syria.

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