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Rediff.com  » Sports » Racism allegations heat up between England, Serbia; referee's report awaited

Racism allegations heat up between England, Serbia; referee's report awaited

Last updated on: October 18, 2012 12:47 IST

Racism allegations heat up between England, Serbia; referee's report awaited

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The Serbian Football Association (FSS) has denied allegations by England of racist abuse during an Under-21 qualifier which ended in a brawl.

-England U-21 players attacked by Serbia opponents

"The FA of Serbia absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match at the stadium in Krusevac," the FSS said on its website.

"Making connection between the seen incident -- a fight between members of the two teams -- and racism has absolutely no grounding and we consider it to be a total malevolence."

Amateur video footage appeared to show widespread monkey chants.


Image: Assistant coach Dejan Govedarica (centre) of Serbia attempts to keep the opposing players apart during a scuffle after the Under 21 European Championship Play Off
Photographs: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

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England defender Rose said he was racially abused

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England defender Danny Rose said he was racially abused by Serbia fans before and during the match which England won 1-0 and 2-0 on aggregate to reach next year's European Under-21 Championship finals in Israel.

Rose, sent off for kicking the ball away after the final whistle, was seen making an ironic monkey impression to the crowd and the FSS blamed him for causing trouble.

"Danny Rose behaved in inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters," the statement said.

Rose on the other hand has called for Serbia to be banned from internationals but the Serbian FA has denied there was racist chanting at the game and accused the player of behaving in a "vulgar manner" as a brawl broke out on the pitch after the final whistle.

England, who scored with the last kick of the game to win the second leg 1-0, were attacked by their Serbian opponents after the final whistle and a full-blooded brawl involving players and staff from both teams ensued.


Image: Referee Huseyin Gocek shows the red card to Danny Rose (right) of England
Photographs: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

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Serbian FA will launch an inquiry

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The FSS said it would launch an inquiry and asked the English FA to follow in their footsteps.

"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 said.

"It will be done whether a possibly disciplinary procedure by the responsible UEFA bodies will be started or not.

"Furthermore, we will not either accept the fact that our players and members of the technical staff were provoked by the gesture of the English player Rose, since violence has no place at sports events. To be honest, we expect the same investigation from the English FA."


Image: Connor Wickham (left) of England celebrates his goal with teammate Raheem Sterling
Photographs: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images
Tags: UEFA , FSS , FA

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British PM calls for tough sanctions on Serbia

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The British government urged the European governing body UEFA on Wednesday to take tough sanctions against Serbia and not just impose a "derisory fine" following alleged racist behaviour by their fans.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement: "The Prime Minister is certainly aware of the events.

"He is appalled by the scenes we have seen in Serbia and 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.

"Hugh Robertson (the Minister for Sport) has written to the UEFA president urging them to investigate this issue. We would expect tough sanctions if we are going to stamp out racism from football."


Image: Connor Wickham (left) of England celebrates with teammates
Photographs: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

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UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Serbia and England

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In a later statement, UEFA said it had opened disciplinary proceedings against both the Serbia (FSS) and England (FA) associations.

"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," the statement said.

"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."


Image: England and Serbia players during a scuffle
Photographs: Phil Cole/Getty Images

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Serbia has long-standing problems with racism and soccer violence

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Serbia have long had problems with racism and soccer violence. They were forced to play a Euro 2012 qualifier behind closed doors after fans rioted at an abandoned Italy game in Genoa in 2010.

"It is no good giving derisory fines as have been handed out in the past, it's not good enough that people shake hands and forget about it. We need proper sanctions," Cameron added.

According to the Serbian B92 website, Serbia coach Aleksandar Jankovic, when asked by English reporters if he felt he should apologise for the fracas, replied: "Apologise for what? It takes two for a brawl."

In June 2007, the Serbian FA was fined 16,500 pounds because of racist chants and the behaviour of their fans at another Under-21 match against England while last year UEFA president Michel Platini said Serbia could face a ban if racism there continued.

UEFA said it was waiting for the referee's report before deciding what action would be taken.

Anti-racism campaigners have criticised UEFA in the past for what they saw as inadequate fines for monkey chants.

At Euro 2012 in June, Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner was fined 20,000 euros more for exposing an illegal advert on his underpants than Croatia were for racist chanting by their fans.


Image: Head coach Aleksandar Jankovic of Serbia
Photographs: Phil Cole/Getty Images

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