Uefa issue 'paltry' fine to Serbia for 'disgraceful' behaviour of fans and also ban two England Under-21 players

Serbia's Under-21s must play a game behind closed doors while Steven Caulker and Thomas Ince are suspended

Uefa's decision to order Serbia's Under-21s to play their next match behind closed doors and fine them €80,000 (£65,000) for the despicable scenes during October's match against the England Under-21s has been met with derision.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson said he was "disappointed" while Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of football's anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, called the punishment "paltry".

Following the second leg of a 2013 European Championship play-off in Krusevac, which England won 1-0 for a 2-0 aggregate triumph to reach next year's finals in Israel, ugly scenes flared.

Connor Wickham's injury-time strike resulted in missiles being thrown on to the pitch that was invaded by a number of fans, whilst players and officials from both sides clashed before leaving the field.

There was also a backdrop of alleged racial abuse from the stands as England claimed some of their black players were victims.

Full-back Danny Rose, dismissed after the final whistle for kicking the ball away in anger, complained he had been particularly targeted.

Just 90 minutes after the game had ended, the FA made their feelings plain, issuing a statement condemning the racism - reporting a number of incidents to Uefa - and the confrontations that occurred, claiming England's players "were under extreme provocation".

Talk of strong punishments and an opportunity for Uefa to make a stand against racism followed in the resulting days.

Yet today's punishment continues the weak response from European football's governing body that many commentators feel has been a stain on the organisation headed by Michel Platini.

Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle was amongst those who suggested Serbia should receive a "significant" international ban.

Even Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "appalled" at the scenes, stating Britain expected "tough sanctions" if racism was proven.

That call was endorsed by Sports Minister Robertson who went so far as to write to Uefa president Platini, in support of the FA, urging his governing body to take strong action.

Rose also stood his ground as he said he was "slapped twice" before he was dismissed following a game in which he claims he was subjected to "monkey chanting" throughout.

FA general secretary Alex Horne described the events in Serbia as "disgraceful", and suggested England would "question the validity of sending a team to Serbia in the future".

The £65,000 fine is less than was the £80,000 meted out to Nicklas Bendtner at Euro 2012 after the Danish striker exposed underwear with a sponsor's name on it.

Among Uefa's wide ranging punishments, English duo Tom Ince and Steven Caulker have been banned for one and two games respectively.

Horne says the FA are considering appealing those suspensions.

Serbia fitness coach Andreja Milunovic, who attacked England officials, has been banned for two years, the second of which is suspended for three years. Serbia assistant coach Predrag Katic was also banned for two years, the final six months of which suspended for three years.

Four Serbia players were also banned - Goran Causic for four matches, Ognjen Mudrinski and Filip Malbasic for three and Nikola Ninkovic for two.

In a statement, Uefa said Serbia's punishment was due to the "improper conduct of its supporters during and at the end of the match, as well as for the improper conduct of the Serbia players at the end of the game".

A day after the incident, the Serbian FA countered the FA's claims, denying there were any racist chants before and during the game, whilst claiming Rose behaved in an "inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner" towards their fans.

Uefa quickly charged the Serbian FA with racist chanting, whilst also issuing a further charge to them and the FA with failure to control their players.

The Serbians at least later reacted strongly in one sense by issuing lengthy bans to two players and two officials for their part in the melee that occurred after the game.

Discussing today's announcement, Serbian FA secretary general Zoran Lakovic admitted the sanctions were "a final warning".

He said in a statement: "Though this case followed a very large media campaign, I do not think the members of the Uefa control and disciplinary commission were influenced by that.

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

"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 football's anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, slammed the sanction for Serbia as "paltry".

He said: "Kick It Out shares the concerns of many in football that abuse aimed at black players isn't taken seriously enough. This is a paltry slap on the wrist and again we haven't seen decisive action from Uefa ."

Sports minister Hugh Robertson also expressed his disappointment.

Robertson said: "I am disappointed in the punishment that has been awarded to the Serbian FA given the widespread racist abuse that England's Under-21 team suffered that night. Racism is completely unacceptable and we need tough sanctions to help combat it."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf