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English player chief Carlisle calls for Serbia ban

From Clarke Carlisle, for CNN
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 1737 GMT (0137 HKT)
  • English players' chief Clarke Carlisle calls for UEFA to ban Serbia
  • The English FA have claimed Danny Rose was racially abused by Serbian fans
  • The Serbian FA "refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism"
  • The match in Krusevac was a qualifying tie for the Euro 2013 under-21 tournament

Editor's note: Clarke Carlisle is the chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, a union which represents soccer players in England and Wales. Carlisle has enjoyed a 15-year playing career in England and he was covering Tuesday's under-21 match between England and Serbia as a pundit for ESPN UK.

(CNN) -- How shocked were you by the events you saw in Serbia last night?

"I was very shocked, utterly appalled at the scenes we saw. Especially having to sit there alongside the father of one of the players (Paul Ince, whose son Thomas Ince was playing for England's Under-021 team) and the emotional torment he went through fearing for the safety and welfare of his own family. This is something which should not be happening, not in 2012, not under any circumstances."

Read: England launch racism complaint against Serbia

How surprised were you by what you saw?

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That's a very different question. There are a lot of people who have insinuated that they aren't surprised and they expected something to happen. Maybe not on such a graphic scale, but that is an indictment in itself. The level of surprise doesn't marry with the level of outrage at the incident. Our levels of acceptability in the UK, where racism is concerned, are not reflected across the continent."

Does England make too much of an issue out of racism?

"Not at all, because we have seen how prevalent the issue is in some nations around the world. Even us, holding ourselves up as exemplars of anti-discrimination, we still have the incidents of racism happening on our own doorstep.

"I don't believe you can make too much of an issue out of this when it is still going on, it only serves to highlight there is still a lot of work to be done in the areas of inclusion and anti-discrimination."

Have you spoken to any of the players involved in Tuesday's match?

"Not the players directly no, I haven't had the chance as they have been flying and travelling back to their families. But I experienced the scenes with Paul Ince and I spoke to Danny Rose's father Nigel this morning, just to offer our support and see if there is anything we can do as a union and anything I can do as an individual.

"But as you can imagine, Paul Ince was extremely emotional about what he saw and concerned for his child. Nigel Rose was apoplectic when I spoke to him earlier on Wednesday. He intimated that Danny also is, understandably so."

What did they say they saw or heard?

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"We saw the violence and the hostility, the missiles being thrown onto the pitch. We could hear the monkey chanting and also we heard the first-hand accounts of the journalists themselves and England coach Stuart Pearce."

What is your reaction to the statement made by the Serbian Football Association criticizing Danny Rose?

"They are utterly ludicrous comments. There was an expectation they would try and push the blame away from the Serbian FA, but not to completely and utterly deny anything occurred. It's a nonsense and I think it only further serves to highlight how important it is for UEFA and FIFA to bring this to the fore and make sure they stand up and face up their responsibilities."

English football teams were banned from European competition following the Heysel disaster in 1985, how would you like to see UEFA punish Serbia?

"In my opinion, UEFA should ban Serbia from international tournaments. I believe that this is what happened to England when violence and hooliganism came to the fore and that is why the problem was addressed. It is only a ban of this nature that will cause Serbia as a football nation to address it."

Should players be able to walk off the pitch if they feel abused or discriminated against?

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"I think every player is within their rights to walk off the pitch. Why should football and sport be different to any other work place? Nobody would stand for this behavior if they were working in an office, a supermarket or whatever working environment you care to think of.

"Football is no different. It is a sport, but it is also the livelihood of the 22 guys on the pitch. The players are within their rights to walk off the pitch, but I would hope for solidarity."

Is the brawl which occurred between the two teams at the final whistle a separate issue?

"They are two issues definitely. Racial abuse is one issue and then the physical violence is another. Missiles that were thrown onto the pitch, images of players and staff kicking each other, one member of the England staff being headbutted. These things are intolerable also, action needs to be taken."

What if this had happened in England?

"There would be complete and utter outrage, we would be ashamed as a footballi nation that it had happened on our shores. I don't believe that it would, I think that is how far we have come as a nation in our fight against racism and all forms of discrimination, but that is not to say we are perfect.

"There is still plenty of work to do here and we need to make sure we maintain that focus so we are the flagbearers on this issue."

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