UEFA charges both English and Serbian Football Associations after events in Krusevac
English FA launch racism complaint against Serbia following under-21 match
England's Danny Rose claims he was racially abused throughout Tuesday's tie
FA statement: "The FA condemns both the scenes of racism and the confrontation"
UEFA has confirmed that it has charged both the Football Association and the FA of Serbia following the unsavoury scenes during the under-21 match in Krusevac on Tuesday.
The Serbian governing body has been charged with alleged racist chanting by its supporters, while both parties have been hit with charges relating to the behaviour of their players at the final whistle.
UEFA said in a statement: “UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against both the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) and England’s Football Association (FA) following a number of incidents during and after England’s 1-0 win over Serbia in the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off second leg at the Mladost stadium in Krusevac on Tuesday 16 October 2012.
“Regarding alleged racist chanting, UEFA will instigate proceedings against the FSS over the misconduct of their supporters during and at the end of the match. Proceedings will also be instigated against the FSS for the improper conduct of the Serbia players at the end of the match.
“UEFA will also commence proceedings against the FA for the improper conduct of the England players at the end of the match. “These cases will be discussed on the occasion of the next ordinary hearing of the UEFA Control & Disciplinary Body on 22 November 2012.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the English FA had complained to European football’s governing body UEFA following alleged racist abuse of one of its players during an under-21 fixture in Serbia.
Danny Rose, a midfielder on loan at English Premier League side Sunderland from Tottenham Hotspur, claims he was subjected to monkey chants before, during and after the second-leg of an Under-21 Euro 2013 playoff match on Tuesday, and had stones thrown at him by the crowd.
Rose was given a red card for kicking a ball into the stands after England scored a winning goal with the last kick of the match, sparking a mass brawl between both sets of players and staff.
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“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,” read a statement from the English game’s governing body.
“The FA has reported a number of incidents of racism to UEFA following the fixture. These were seemingly aimed at a number of England’s black players by the crowd. The matter is now with UEFA.”
But in a statement on its website, the Serbian FA said it “absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match at the stadium in Krusevac”.
“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.
“Unfortunately, after the fourth minute of the additional time and the victory goal scored by the guest team, unpleasant scenes were seen on the pitch.
“And while most of the English team players celebrated the score, their player number three, Danny Rose, behaved in inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters on the stands at the stadium in Krusevac, and for that he was shown a red card.”
During an U-21 match between the two countries in 2007, Serbia was fined £16,000 ($26,000) by UEFA for racial abuse directed at England defender Nedum Onouha.
In February 2011, UEFA president Michel Platini warned Serbia and its clubs that a ban on competing could be imposed if fans continued to cause trouble.
Platini is now under pressure to act on the alleged abuse, though UEFA has yet to issue a statement on the matter, while the organisation’s account of the match on its website carried no mention of the widely reported racism.
Former England captain Rio Ferdinand used his official Twitter account to say: “Let’s see if UEFA are serious or will they just treat this U21 incident as a minor….as they have before with their laughable punishments.”
England captain Steven Gerrard also voiced his frustration at the lack of action being taken to eradicate racism from the game.
“The disappointing thing with what happened last night is it means you are back to square one,” he said following England’s 1-1 draw with Poland in Warsaw.
“We seemed to be making great strides forward to get it (racism) out of our game.
“With a situation like last night, it brings it back to square one.
“It is very disappointing but a lot of people above me need to take control of the situation.
“The authorities have to get tough. It is the only solution. No-one else can do anything about it.
“They are the people in control, who can give out massive huge fines and ban people.
“Why wait? Do it now.”
The punishments and fines UEFA has historically handed out for racism offences have been criticized by many observers.
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The Spanish and Russian football associations were fined €20,000 ($26,000) and €30,000 ($39,000) respectively for racism offences committed by fans at the recent Euro 2012 tournament held in Poland and Ukraine.
That contrasts with the $125,800 “ambush marketing” fine UEFA handed to Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner for displaying underwear which sported the name of a bookmaker during a goal celebration.
Next week UEFA, together with the organization Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), is hosting a campaign to transmit “a clear and firm message that discrimination has no place in football”, which will conveyed at Champions League and Europa League matches between Tuesday and Thursday.
“I think we should remind ourselves this is not the first time Serbia have faced such allegations,” FARE executive director Piara Powar told CNN. “In fact, it is not the first time Serbia will have an investigation opened about their behavior at a home or an away game by UEFA.”
Powar argued the problem in Serbia could be due to a lack of the ethnic diversity seen in other European countries.
“There is not the wider diversity which you see in a place like London, Berlin or Paris,” continued FARE’s exeuctive director. “I think people react to that lack of diversity during a football match.
“These are attitudes fans are carrying in their everyday lives and at a football match they somehow think it is acceptable to make those views public. I think UEFA will take a very hard line.
“It’s easy to look at some of the punishments UEFA have issued to Eastern European clubs in recent seasons, but when it comes to Serbia and the context of this Platini warning, I think Serbia faces a very serious situation.”