Following on the lines of my earlier post about Spain‘s football federation chief denying that racism is a problem in Spanish football the Serbian FA have responded to the English complaints about racism in their U21 match in Krusevac last night.
Taking a page from the Spanish FA’s manual, the Serbia FA today denied that England players were subjected to any monkey chants or racist taunts in Tuesday European Championship play-off match, claiming instead that the match was played in a ‘sports atmosphere full of respecting fair-play spirit’
Instead Serbia blamed England’s Danny Rose for all the problems, saying the England player behaved in an ‘inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner’ towards supporters after being sent off after the final whistle.
The match, which England won 1-0 through a stoppage time Conor Wickham goal to secure a 2-0 aggregate win and a place in next year’s finals in Israel, descended into chaos on the final whistle.
England players and coaching staff were confronted by Serbian players, coaches and supporters who had run onto the pitch.
Goalkeeping coach Martin Thomas was headbutted and assistant head coach Steve Wigley kicked in the stomach in ugly scenes and goalkeeper Jack Butland was also pelted with smoke flares and a seat.
After the match, Rose spoke of how he was taunted before, during and after the game by racist thugs and had kicked a ball into the crowd out of sheer anger and frustration, earning him a second yellow card.
His comments were backed by England Under 21 head coach Stuart Pearce, the English Football Association, fellow professionals and Prime Minister David Cameron, who all called for Serbia to be banned from international football.
The only way for Uefa to show that they are serious about combating racism, especially in Eastern Europe is to ban a country from international football.
But they won’t. UEFA president Michel Platini showed his true colours during the Euros when he fined Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner more money for guerilla marketing, than countries were fined for their fans hurling racial abuse at players.