Anger mounts over racist soccer fans
England defender Danny Rose was racially abused and pelted with stones
The British Government urged UEFA on Wednesday to take tough sanctions against Serbia and not just hand them a “derisory fine” following the racist behaviour of their fans in an Under-21 international against England.
England defender Danny Rose was racially abused and pelted with stones in the southern city of Krusevac before, during and after Tuesday’s match which England won 1-0 to qualify for next year’s European Under-21 championships in Israel.
Rose has called for Serbia to be banned from international football while 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.”
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.
England defender Rose, a Tottenham Hotspur player spending this season on loan at Sunderland, called for the strongest possible action.
“They have to be banned. I don’t understand how else they can learn from it. They have to be banned,” he told Sky Sports News.
England’s goal, which sealed a 2-0 aggregate win, came with the last kick of the game at the end of stoppage time and fighting broke out immediately after the final whistle between players and officials as the England players were celebrating.
Rose, who was shown a red card after the final whistle for kicking the ball away, said he was racially abused throughout the evening with the insults beginning before the match even began.
“The monkey chants started straight away while we were warming up. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could,” he said.
“The chanting in the first half was nowhere near as bad as the second half.
“During the second half two stones hit me in the head when I went to get the ball for a throw-in. Every time I touched the ball they were doing the monkey chanting again.”
The English FA confirmed it had reported a number of racist incidents to the UEFA delegate with a formal protest also being lodged with European soccer’s governing body.
Calls for Serbia to be banned in some form also came from the likes of former England skipper Paul Ince and English Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Clarke Carlisle.
According to the Serbian B92 website (www.b92.net), 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”.
Jankovic is also head coach of Red Star Belgrade and this was his final game as Serbia’s Under-21 coach.
Rose said he lost focus because of the racist chants.
“After 60 minutes my mind wasn’t really on the game. I was just so angry and it was just so hard to concentrate, and I could have cost the lads the game because I made a few mistakes,” he said.
“Then we scored and, after 90 minutes’ worth of abuse, I expressed my emotions as soon as we scored.
“Next thing I know, I’ve turned around and all the Serbia players were surrounding me, pushing me and a brawl broke out. I remember getting slapped twice. I got ushered away and that’s when I kicked the ball — and then the referee sent me off.”
The monkey chants continued while other England players and officials were attacked by some of the Serbia players with punches thrown as they tried to enter the tunnel after the game.
In June 2007, the Serbian FA was fined 16,500 pounds ($26,600) 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.