17 Oct 2012

Uefa charges English and Serbian footballing authorities

The English Football Association and its Serbian equivalent are charged by Uefa following violent scenes and racist behaviour at an under 21s football match.

(footage from YouTube)

Following the events in the Serbian city of Krusevac, European football’s governing said it had opened disciplinary proceedings against both bodies.

The Serbian footballing authorities have been charged over the racist chanting by fans directed at black English players and the “improper conduct” of Serbian players.

Uefa said it was taking action against the English FA over “the improper conduct of the England players at the end of the match”.

Before Uefa released its statement, the Serbian football association apologised for the violence against English players in the match, but denied there was a racist element.

It said it would be launching a disciplinary process into the actions of “part of the technical staff and players” after violent clashes in Krusevac at the end of the international football match last night, but also called for the English FA to do the same.

England players have reported that Serbian fans thew stones and directed monkey chants at them, and that the Serbian players and staff physically attacked them.

The violence came to a head following Connor Wickham’s injury-time strike, which clinched a 2-0 aggregate win. England’s goal celebration was met with a flurry of missiles from the crowd and an outbreak of scuffles on the pitch (pictured, below right). The Football Association has since made an official complaint to Uefa.

FA of Serbia absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match at the stadium in Kruševac Serbian Football Association

A statement from the Serbian FA said: “The Football Association of Serbia apologises to the guests from England and the overall football community because of the unsportsmanlike behaviour of a part of the technical staff and players of the Serbian U-21 team.

“By this we inform the overall public that we will, as a matter of urgency, start an internal disciplinary procedure and punish the culprits after reviewing all the reports.

“It will be done whether a disciplinary procedure by the responsible Uefa bodies will be started or not.

The Serbian FA added that it would not accept as a defence, that its players or staff were provoked by Danny Rose, since: “violence has no place at sports events.”

The statement also said that the Serbian FA expects the English FA to also conduct an inquiry.

Danny Rose (Getty)

But the Serbian FA also rejected any claims that there was racist abuse directed towards England players, as detailed by England defender Danny Rose.

The statement said: “FA of Serbia absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match at the stadium in Kruševac.

“Making connection between the seen incident – a fight between members of the two teams – and racism has absolutely no ground and we consider it to be a total malevolence.”


Earlier today the David Cameron said he was “appalled” by the scenes and called for Uefa to impose “tough sanctions” on the Serbian football association.

If we are going to stamp out racism from football, then it is no good giving derisory fines, as have been handed out in the past. – spokesman for David Cameron

“He was appalled by the scenes that we have seen in Serbia,” Mr Cameron’s spokesman said. “We are determined to stamp out racism internationally and at home and we are giving our full backing to the FA’s complaint on this issue.

Players clash at the England vs Serbia Under 21 game (Getty)

“Clearly it is for Uefa to investigate this issue but we would expect tough sanctions. If we are going to stamp out racism from football, then it is no good giving derisory fines, as have been handed out in the past.

“It is not good enough to say that people should shake hands and forget about it.”

Previous sanctions against Serbia have included a £16,000 fine following racist abuse at an Under-21s match against England in 2007.

Additionally, Hugh Robertson, the sports minister, has written to Uefa president Michel Platini asking for tough sanctions to be imposed.

He said: “Racism in any form is unacceptable and must be stamped out. We would expect tough sanctions from Uefa on anyone found guilty of racist abuse.”

No apology

However, Serbian coach Aleksander Jankovic said his team had “nothing to be ashamed of.” He told the Daily Telegraph: “Apologise for what? It takes two to have a fight.

“You should be happy that England qualified. We can discuss that (incident) tomorrow and analyse what happened. Let’s talk about football. We expected a great fight and so it was. We can be disappointed but we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

‘Punches thrown’

Much of the violence centred around defender Danny Rose. He told Sky Sports News: “The monkey chants started straight away while we were warming up. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could.

“The chanting in the first half was nowhere near as bad as the second half. During the second half two stones hit me in the head when I went to get the ball for a throw-in. Every time I touched the ball they were doing the monkey chanting again.”

Rose was shown the red card after the end of the game after he reacted in anger following a scuffle between Serbian and English players.

The Serbian FA said it believed Rose had behaved in an “inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters”.

Rose said: “After 60 minutes my mind wasn’t really on the game. I was just so angry and it was just so hard to concentrate, and I could have cost the lads the game because I made a few mistakes,” he said.

“Then we scored and, after 90 minutes’ worth of abuse, I expressed my emotions as soon as we scored. Next thing I know, I’ve turned around and all the Serbia players were surrounding me, pushing me and a brawl broke out. I remember getting slapped twice. I got ushered away and that’s when I kicked the ball – and then the referee sent me off.”

Goalkeeping coach Srdjan Maksimovic of Serbia raises his fist during a scuffle (Getty)

Rose was pushed in the back as he left the field and gestured that monkey taunts had been aimed towards him. England assistant coach Steve Wigley was also caught up in the trouble and was manhandled as he made his way to the tunnel.

The monkey chants continued while other England players and officials were involved in further scuffles with Serbia players. Punches were reported to be thrown as they tried to enter the tunnel after the game (pictured, left).

Punches, head butts were thrown, and God knows what else. We will let the authorities deal with this at Uefa. – England Under-21s head coach Stuart Pearce

England’s Under-21s captain, Jordan Henderson, said: “Everyone is delighted with the result and going to the Euros, but what happened tonight wasn’t nice and is not called for in football.

“There was a lot of racist abuse out there from the stands and a lot going on after the game, which is hard to take for the players. The players coped with the abuse really well. It’s not nice, they kept their heads and were professional. I thought our players were brilliant and conducted themselves very well.

“The players completely condemn what happened. There was also stones, coins and seats getting thrown at us. I didn’t understand why Danny Rose was sent off at the end – I didn’t see he did anything wrong, other than get abused. UEFA must deal with this in the right way.”

A statement from the FA read: “The FA condemns both the scenes of racism and the confrontation at the final whistle during which time our players and staff were under extreme provocation.

“The FA has reported a number of incidents of racism to Uefa following the fixture.

“These were seemingly aimed at a number of England black players by the crowd. The matter is now with Uefa.”

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Head coach Stuart Pearce told BBC Sport: “One or two of the technical staff from the opposition, and I don’t include their manager in that, didn’t cover themselves in glory on the pitch at the end.

“Punches, head butts were thrown, and God knows what else. We will let the authorities deal with this at Uefa.”

Elsewhere England’s senior team plays Poland in at 4pm in their rescheduled world cup qualifier.

The Group H match at the National Stadium in Warsaw was called off on Tuesday night after torrential downpours.