Serbian football association denies racist abuse
THE Serbian Football Association (FSS) has denied allegations by England of racist abuse during an Under-21 qualifier which ended in a brawl on yesterday.
“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 (www.fss.rs).
“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.
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.
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.
Rose has said he had been subjected to monkey taunts long before the violent and chaotic scenes which marred the end of the Euro 2013 play-off.
Rose said: "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.
"As I went off again there was monkey chanting, but the monkey chanting started long before I got sent off.
"After 60 minutes my head wasn't really on the game. They have to be banned. I don't understand how else they can learn from it, they have to be banned."
British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson sent a letter to UEFA president Michel Platini urging tough sanctions from the governing body following the "disgraceful scenes".
The FA reported "a number of incidents of racism" to European governing body UEFA after the match.
Head coach Stuart Pearce said: "One or two of the technical staff from the opposition, and I don't include their manager in that, didn't cover themselves in glory on the pitch at the end.
"Punches, headbutts were thrown, and God knows what else. We will let the authorities deal with this at UEFA."
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.”