British government seeking clarification after England under-21 players are charge by Serbian police

 

Serbian police have charged two England Under-21 players and one of the team's coaches following this month's stormy European Championship qualifier.

The British government have confirmed that the Serbian police have submitted charges against the unnamed players and assistant coach after contacting their counterparts in the Balkan country.

The game in Krusevac on October 16, which England won to secure a place in next summer's Euro 2013 finals in Israel, was marred by alleged racist chanting and violent scuffles.

A British government spokesman said: "Serbian police have announced that they have submitted charges against two England players and an assistant coach to the public prosecutor following an incident at the England-Serbia under-21 football match in Serbia earlier this month.

"We are investigating the full details of these charges before considering our response."

The spokesman said they were seeking clarity over the charges and its ramifications.

The violence flared after Connor Wickham struck in injury time to secure a 1-0 win and 2-0 aggregate success.

Missiles were thrown onto the pitch and players and officials from both sides clashed before leaving the field.

The trouble came on a night when England also alleged some of their black players had been the subject of racial abuse from the stands throughout the game.

Full-back Danny Rose felt he had been particularly targeted and he was sent off after the final whistle for kicking a ball away in anger amid the chaotic scenes.

The Serbian football association (FSS) reacted strongly by handing lengthy bans to two players and two officials for their part in the confrontations.

Ognjen Mudrinski and Nikola Ninkovic, who clashed with Rose as the defender attempted to leave the pitch, were given one-year suspensions while coaches Srdjan Maksimovic and Andreja Milutinovic were handed two-year bans.

The FSS issued a qualified apology for problems on the field but denied any racism towards the England team had taken place.

In a statement they also claimed Rose had acted in an "inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner" towards home supporters.

European governing body UEFA have launched an investigation into the events on the night.

The FSS were charged with alleged racist chanting and both they and the Football Association were charged over the behaviour of their players.

Those matters are due to be dealt at a meeting of UEFA's control and disciplinary body on November 22.

PA

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