Europe news

Caulker and Lees facing charges - reports

November 1, 2012
By ESPN staff

Tottenham Hotspur's Steven Caulker and Leeds United's Tom Lees have been named in reports as the two England Under-21 players facing charges from Serbian police.

England Serbia U21s violence
GettyImagesPlayers of England U21s and Serbia U21s clashed after the final whistle of their play-off match

On Tuesday, Serbian police filed charges against members of the Serbia and England Under-21 teams in connection with the fight that took place at the end of the recent play-off match in Krusevac.

A brawl broke out after England scored a late goal to make sure of their place at the European Under-21 Football Championship next year, with the visitors alleging racial abuse had taken place during the game.

Police announced that in total 12 people have been charged for committing acts of violence; five Serbia players, two England players and assistant coaches from both teams. Three fans have also been charged for the use of flares and smoke canisters.

The two England players have yet to be officially named, although reports suggest Caulker and Lees are the pair facing charges, as the Serbian public prosecutor determines whether to pursue the matter.

A statement from Tottenham read: "The club has been in contact with the Football Association amid reports that our defender Steven Caulker has been charged by Serbian police in relation to alleged incidents that occurred during the recent England Under-21 international in Krusevac.

"At this time, neither the FA, the player nor the club have received any formal notification of a charge.

"The FA has confirmed that they will seek to determine the validity of such reports and the formal position and that they are continuing their discussions with the Government to bring this matter to a swift and satisfactory conclusion."

Leeds issued a similar statement concerning 21-year-old Lees: "We are investigating the full details of these charges before considering our response."

UEFA has already launched its own disciplinary proceedings with a disciplinary body set to meet on November 22 to deal with this case.

On Thursday morning, the FA issued the following statement: "The FA continues to remain in close contact with the UK Government regarding the continued media reports of Serbian Police charging England Under-21 players and staff.

"There remains no formal communication of any charges to The FA or the Government. However, we understand there has been a verbal communication of the names of the individuals concerned, which we now believe to be England players Steven Caulker and Tom Lees, and coach Steve Wigley.

2The FA would like to reaffirm its support for all of our players and staff and we have spoken with the players' clubs and those named to express this.

"The FA has been taking legal advice in both the UK and Serbia to provide appropriate protection should any charges be brought. We welcome the support we are receiving from the UK Government."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report