Europe news

Platini 'dismayed' at Serbia incident

October 23, 2012
By ESPN staff

UEFA president Michel Platini has replied to the UK's minister for sport sharing his dismay at the scenes that unfolded during a qualifier between England's Under-21s and Serbia.

Serbia England melee
GettyImagesDanny Rose was shown a red card against Serbia for kicking the ball into the crowd

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Defender Danny Rose appeared to be subjected to a series of monkey chants from the stands in Krusevac and was shown a red card at the full time whistle after a brawl erupted on the pitch at the end of England's 1-0 win.

UEFA has already charged both the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) and the English Football Association (FA) for the fracas that broke out on the field and Hugh Robertson wrote to Platini expressing his desire that Serbia be punished severely for their fans' conduct.

The FSS released a statement denying any racism, which drew a strong response from the FA. Now Platini has written back to Robertson to state he shares the minister's shock at the scenes.

"Michel Platini has written back to Hugh Robertson (and said) in unequivocal terms that they were disgraceful scenes,'' FA general secretary Alex Horne said. "His immediate reaction was that they were disgraceful scenes that we shouldn't be seeing on a football pitch.''

Serbia also released a clip from the match on YouTube that they insist proves "there was no unsportsmanlike cheering and insulting of players on racial grounds.'' But Horne disagreed with their conclusions.

"It's not what I have seen on the video clips I have seen and it is not what I have heard from eyewitness reports of multiple people who were on the trip,'' Horne said, speaking at an event to promote the FA's 150th anniversary next year at Wembley.

"I believe the guys and girls who were out there on the trip and that were hit by missiles. I wasn't there. I was watching on television. It was appalling. What the players went through out there is abhorrent.''

After a series of previous punishments for racism have been interpreted as lenient, there is hope among the FA and the UK government that UEFA will make a clear statement when dealing with the allegations against Serbia.

The Balkan state has previously been accused of racism. They were fined £16,000 after their supporters racially abused England defender Nedum Onuoha during the Under-21 European Championships in the Netherlands.

Horne said in the aftermath of the game that England might not be willing to travel to Serbia for matches in future and he has underlined his willingness to help UEFA at any stage of their investigation.

"We have put our case forward,'' Horne added. "It was very uncomfortable for the people out there so we have written in strong terms to UEFA.

"We spoke to the match commissioner. He is supporting our view of events so it has all gone through UEFA channels. We are looking at a hearing on the 22nd or 23rd of November.

"We will support that commission with any evidence or support they need. We have to look at it seriously.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report