Montenegro charged after racist chanting during loss to England

England defender Danny Rose was subjected to monkey chants during win in Podgorica

England were 5-1 winners over Montenegro at Podgorica City Stadium on Monday night. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

England were 5-1 winners over Montenegro at Podgorica City Stadium on Monday night. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

 

Uefa has opened formal disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro after England players were subjected to racist chants during their resounding win at the Podgorica City stadium on Monday.

The governing body’s delegate had received an official complaint by England on the night of the game, which the visitors won 5-1, after Danny Rose was subjected to monkey chants following his booking for a foul on Aleksandar Boljevic in stoppage time.

Callum Hudson-Odoi later confirmed that he and Rose had heard supporters “saying monkey stuff” during the first half, with Raheem Sterling making a point of cupping his ears towards the most vociferous section of the home support after scoring the visitors’ fifth.

Gareth Southgate suggested post-match that the delegate had already been aware of the chants, with the anti-discrimination body, Fare, having since supported the Football Association’s complaint of racist abuse. They had designated the game as high risk and sent an experienced observer to the tie who is understood to have confirmed the abuse was clearly audible, most notably after Rose’s caution after the 90th minute. Their own report backing the English FA’s observations was submitted to Uefa on Tuesday morning.

Under article 14 of Uefa’s disciplinary regulations, the minimum sanction to be imposed on Montenegro will be the partial closure of the stadium if they are found guilty by Uefa’s control, ethics and disciplinary commission on May 16th. The governing body have also charged the Montenegrins with setting off fireworks, crowd disturbances, blocking stairways and the throwing of objects. Hudson-Odoi had retrieved a cigarette lighter thrown on to the pitch after Sterling’s celebrations of the visitors’ fifth goal.

The Manchester City forward subsequently called for the governing body to close stadia in the wake of incidents of racism. “It is a shame we are talking about this to be honest with you,” said Sterling after the game. “It is 2019 and there should be a real punishment for this, not just for the few people being banned. You can fine people, but what’s that going to do? It needs to be a collective thing.

“This stadium holds 15,000 and I think the punishment should be that, as a nation, if your fans are chanting racist abuse, it should be the whole stadium can’t watch it. Then when that ban is lifted your fans will think twice about doing anything silly like that because they all love football, they all want to be there to support their nation. So it will make them think twice to do something silly like that.”

The Montenegro Football Federation released a statement insisting they have “always been committed to partnering with international football organisations in the fight against all types of discrimination on the ground and outside”. They added: “We have not had any previous cases of religious, gender or racial discrimination at the matches of our national team. In a multicultural and multiethnic society such as Montenegro, there is no place for such behaviour.”

They pledged to identify any individuals, and ban them from national fixtures, in the event of any incidents of racism in future.”

Hudson-Odoi had been the subject of monkey chants from a small number of Dynamo Kiev supporters during Chelsea’s 5-0 Europa League win at the Olympic stadium earlier this month, with his captain, César Azpilicueta, having approached the German referee at the end of the game.

The Premier League club submitted a complaint to Uefa in the immediate aftermath of that fixture, with Uefa confirming on Tuesday that an ethics and disciplinary inspector has been appointed to evaluate the complaint and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to open proceedings against the Ukrainian club.

“I don’t think discrimination should happen anywhere – we’re equal,” said Hudson-Odoi, so impressive on full debut in Podgorica. “But when you’re hearing stuff like that from the fans, it’s not right. It’s unacceptable. Hopefully Uefa deal with it properly. Obviously, when Rosey and I went over there, we heard it in the first half, we heard it. They were saying monkey stuff.

“I’ve had it before at Dynamo. It’s a situation we hope Uefa deal with properly. We just have to keep our heads, keep a strong mentality. We’ll have a chat about what happened, but hopefully Uefa will do something. It’s not right. It’s never right.”

Guardian services

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