Sport Soccer

Tuesday 23 January 2018

English FA in dark over reported U-21 charges

Matt Somerford

The FA are awaiting confirmation from Serbian police that two England U-21 players had been charged following the controversial European Championship qualifier between the countries.

Reports on a number of Serbian media outlets claimed that police in Krusevac, where the October 16 match took place, had charged 12 people including two unnamed England U-21 players.

A further two officials from Stuart Pearce's back-room staff were also said to have been charged after the match erupted after the final whistle.

The FA revealed in a statement that it was, however, yet to be contacted by authorities in Serbia, saying only that they were taking advice from the British Government as well as UEFA.

"Further to the Serbian police announcement regarding charging English U-21 players and staff, the FA can confirm it has not received any formal notification of any charges filed by the Serbian authorities," the statement read.

"We have not been made aware of any of the names of individuals connected with these charges and we therefore await further details and formal communication on these matters.

Players and officials from both teams clashed on the pitch after Connor Wickham's late goal secured England's passage to next year's finals.

The unsavoury scenes were played out amid allegations of racist chanting from the stands directed at England U-21 full-back Danny Rose.

Video footage appeared to reveal the crowd targeting Rose, who was red-carded after the whistle, and who has subsequently complained about the treatment he received.

In the days after the game UEFA charged both countries while the FA reported "a number of incidents of racism" to the governing body in a dossier of evidence including the video footage.

The Serbian football association's (FSS) response was to hand down lengthy bans to two players and two officials following an internal investigation.

Ognjen Mudrinski and Nikola Ninkovic, who clashed with Rose as the full-back attempted to leave the pitch, were given one-year suspensions, while coaches Srdjan Maksimovic and Andreja Milutinovic were handed two-year bans.

The FSS also issued a qualified apology for the on-field trouble but denied any racism towards the England team had taken place.

Irish Independent

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