Serbia-England Under 21s Race Row: Uefa Punishment Condemned

14/12/2012 08:23

Uefa's stance against racism has been condemned again after they fined Serbia less for racist chanting than former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner was for displaying a betting firm's logo on his underpants.

The Serbia FA was fined £65,000 and ordered to play a match behind closed doors following racist chanting and scenes of violence towards England's Under-21 players in October. Bendtner was fined £80,000 at Euro 2012 for revealing sponsored underwear.

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Danny Rose sarcastically agrees with his abusers

The Football Association confirmed it will appeal against two-match and one-match bans for Steven Caulker and Tom Ince.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said: "We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by UEFA with regards to the racist behaviour displayed towards England's players.

"Let's be clear, racism is unacceptable in any form, and should play no part in football. The scenes were deplorable and we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message."

The FA had reported the racist abuse to Uefa after full-back Danny Rose, bizarrely sent off after the final whistle for kicking the ball away in anger, was treated to a deafening chorus of monkey chants.

Even Serbian FA secretary general Zoran Lakovic seemed to suggest the Uefa official prosecuting the charges had also demanded tougher action.

Lakovic said in a statement: "If we take into account what the drastic proposed penalty by the disciplinary inspector Jean-Samuel Leube we have not been hit so hard.

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Goalkeeping coach Srdjan Maksimovic of Serbia raises his fist during the scuffle

"I believe that this is a final warning to all of us who work in Serbian football, including coaches and players and fans, because for even the smallest mistake UEFA can now impose the most rigorous punishment."

Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, slammed the sanction as "a paltry slap on the wrist", adding: "Again we haven't seen decisive action from UEFA."

Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination body FARE, said UEFA had failed to display the necessary leadership.

Powar said: "The original offences warranted a more severe collective punishment than a ban on spectators for one match.

"This is a moment in which leadership to challenge discrimination is needed from all authorities. This sanction falls short of that objective."

Serbia and the FA have three days in which to lodge an appeal - while Uefa themselves can also appeal against the control and disciplinary body if they too think the independent commission have been too lenient.

The European football organisation's history of dealing with racism has been farcical.

During a 2004 Spain-England friendly at Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Jermain Defoe and Jermaine Jenas were hounded by monkey chants, with the Spanish Federation eventually fined £45,000.

In 2007 the Serbian FA was fined a pitiful £16,000 after supporters racially abused England players at the Under 21 Euros in Holland.

The Croatian FA was fined £10,000 after supporters unveiled a racist banner at the 2008 European Championship against Turkey.

Manchester City was fined £25,000 by Uefa for taking a minute longer to take to the field for their second-half Europa League match with Sporting Lisbon in February, whereas Porto were slapped with a £16,500 punishment after their supporters made monkey noises at Mario Balotelli.

Serbia v England u21

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