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UEFA charge Serbia and England over 'racism' match

Both teams have been punished following the angry scenes at the end of the game.

Serbian player Milos Ninkovic, left, and England player Danny Rose, right, react during their 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off.
Serbian player Milos Ninkovic, left, and England player Danny Rose, right, react during their 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off.

Updated at 19.21

SERBIA AND ENGLAND will face disciplinary action over their stormy European Under-21 match which sparked claims of racism and ended with players, fans and coaches embroiled in ugly scuffles, UEFA said Wednesday.

England won the match 1-0 in Krusevac on Tuesday for a 2-0 aggregate triumph but English defender Danny Rose was sent off for kicking the ball away in response to what he claimed was monkey chanting and physical provocation.

The Serbian Football Federation denied that any racist abuse was hurled at England’s players and slammed Rose for “vulgar” behaviour.

“Regarding alleged racist chanting, UEFA will instigate proceedings against the Serbian Football Federation (FSS) over the misconduct of their supporters during and at the end of the match,” said a UEFA statement.

“Proceedings will also be instigated against the FSS for the improper conduct of the Serbia players at the end of the game.

“UEFA will also commence proceedings against the English FA for the improper conduct of the England players at the end of the match.”

UEFA said the cases will be discussed on November 22.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron earlier led calls for UEFA to take a tough line against Serbia.

The British leader was said to have been “appalled” at the scenes from the match and wanted “tough sanctions” against Serbian football if racism is proven, his official spokesman told reporters.

But the FSS hit back at allegations of racism.

“The Serbian FF resolutely rejects and denies that there was any racist incident in the Krusevac stadium, before and during the match,” it said in a statement.

It went on to criticise any attempt to tie claims of racist abuse by English players to scuffles that broke out after the match as “malicious”.

The Serbian federation blamed Rose for the events accusing him of “extremely inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar behaviour towards spectators in the stadium, which is why he got a red card”.

“It will come out that, unfortunately, that was when the incident developed,” it said.

Rose, who also said stones were thrown at his head, called for Serbia to be banned from European competition.

“I remember getting slapped twice and then I got ushered away. That’s when I kicked the ball — and the referee sent me off. I don’t understand, the game had finished by then but he still sent me off for kicking the ball,” he said.

“As I went off again there was monkey chanting, but the monkey chanting started long before I got sent off,” Rose, who is on loan from Tottenham to Sunderland, told Sky Sports News television.

“After 60 minutes my head wasn’t really on the game. They (Serbia) have to be banned. I don’t understand how else they can learn from it, they have to be banned.”

Sepp Blatter, the president of football’s world governing body FIFA, gave an indirect reaction to the incident in a message on his official Twitter account.

“Saddened every time I hear about racist incidents in football,” he wrote.

“We must keep fighting to eradicate discrimination from our sport. Kick racism out of football.”

Rose said the problems started early in the evening.

“It started when we went out for the warm-up,” he said. “They started the monkey chanting straight away. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could hear it.

“In the first half I went down to get the ball for a throw-in and the fans started again with the monkey chants but the first half was nowhere near as bad as the second half.

“In the second half I had two stones hit me on the head when I went to get the ball for a throw-in. Every time I touched the ball there was monkey chanting again.”

- © AFP, 2012

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