Uefa to finally deliver verdict on Serbia following England Under-21s clash
Ugly scenes marred the end of the match which England won 1-0
Wednesday 12 December 2012
The Football Association will tomorrow finally learn their fate when UEFA's control and disciplinary body meet to the discuss the trouble that erupted during England Under-21s clash with Serbia in October.
The hearing should have taken place on November 22, but was postponed "to allow for further investigations", according to UEFA, in light of the complex nature of the case.
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".
The Serbian FA countered the day after, 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.
Since the incident the FA have been in close contact with UEFA over the past two months, providing them with the required documentation and evidentiary support ahead of the hearing.
It is a question of awaiting a verdict now the dust has settled on the matter given the furore that unfolded in the days that followed.
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 Hugh Robertson who went so far as to write to UEFA president Michel 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".
UEFA will certainly be expected to impose stiff penalties against Serbia, rather than any kind of desultory fine as occurred in 2007.
On that occasion the Serbian FA were fined £16,000 following a match between the two countries at the Under-21 European Championship in Holland when England defender Nedum Onuoha was racially abused.
The FA, meanwhile, have confirmed they are still awaiting to hear whether Under-21 players Steven Caulker and Tom Lees, along with coach Steve Wigley, are to be charged by Serbian police.
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