Uefa criticised for 'paltry' response to abuse of England players in Serbia


The Football Association, anti-racism campaigners and the British government last night lined up to criticise Uefa for its “paltry” response to the racist abuse and violence suffered by England under-21 players in Serbia in October.

Serbia under-21s will play their next match behind closed doors but have escaped with a fine of €80,000 in the wake of the violent melee and monkey chants that marred the match with England in Krusevac. Four Serbian players were suspended for between two and four matches while two members of the coaching staff were suspended for two years.

The FA’s general secretary, Alex Horne, said he was disappointed with the sanctions and with Uefa’s decision to suspend England players Steven Caulker and Thomas Ince as well for unspecified “improper conduct”.

Horne said: “Let’s be clear, racism is unacceptable . . . we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message.”

Players including Rio and Anton Ferdinand immediately lambasted Uefa and anti-racism campaigners said that the European governing body had failed a crucial test. Kick It Out’s chairman, Lord Ouseley said: “Kick It Out shares the concerns of many . . . This is a paltry slap on the wrist and again we haven’t seen decisive action from Uefa.”

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