Serbian FA fined US$105,000 for incidents following Under-21 clash with England in October
UEFA decision criticized by both English FA and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand
Four Serb and two English players receive bans for their part in post-match scuffles
England footballer Rio Ferdinand accused European football’s governing body of not taking racism seriously enough after the Serbian FA was fined US$105,000 following an Under-21 match where opposing England players said they were racially abused.
“UEFA are not serious at all on racism. Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players,” Ferdinand wrote on Twitter.
On Thursday, UEFA issued various punishments to both Serbia and England following incidents that broke out after their Under-21 teams met in a 2013 European Championship qualifier in October.
In addition to banning two Serbian coaches as well as a total of six players from both sides, UEFA also ordered the eastern Europeans to play their next competitive Under-21 match behind closed doors.
In chaotic scenes at the end of the match in the Serb city Krusevac, England defender Danny Rose was sent off for kicking the ball away in response to what he said was racist and physical abuse – while fans, coaches and other players also clashed.
Ferdinand – whose brother was at the center of a racism row involving Chelsea defender John Terry – suggested that UEFA should contact the current generation of footballers to discuss ways to eradicate racism within European football.
“UEFA need to talk to this generation…..they don’t seem to be up to date on this issue?? Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent,” said the 34-year-old Manchester United player.
UEFA’s punishment of the Serbian FA falls short of the $125,800 fine it handed to Denmark international Niklas Bendtner for exposing boxer shorts adorned with the logo of an online betting company during the 2012 European Championships.
The English FA, which banned Terry for four matches in September following his racial abuse of QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in a match last year, backed the elder Ferdinand’s viewpoint, agreeing that the punishment should have been tougher.
“We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by UEFA with regards to the racist behavior displayed towards England’s players,” FA General Secretary Alex Horne said in a statement.
“Let’s be clear, racism is unacceptable in any form, and should play no part in football. The scenes were deplorable and we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message.”
Horne added that the FA is set to appeal the two-year and one-year bans handed out to Steven Caulker and Thomas Ince respectively, with both players set to miss the opening matches of next year’s European Under-21 Championship.
Serbia’s assistant coach Predrag Katić and fitness coach Andreja Milunović received two-year suspensions from football, with both able to return to the game sooner if they avoid similar incidents during their bans.
Following the scuffles that broke out after England had booked their qualification for the 2013 European Championships with a 2-0 aggregate wins, the Serbian players to be banned are Goran Caušić, Ognjen Mudrinski, Filip Malbašić and Nikola Ninković.
Earlier this year, Manchester City were infuriated after being fined $40,000 by UEFA for taking to the pitch late for a Europa League game - which was $13,000 more than FC Porto’s sanction for fans’ racist abuse during a game against the English club.