FA slam UEFA’s lenient punishment of Serbia

The Northern Echo: FLASHPOINT: Danny Rose leaves the pitch in Serbia two months ago, after which he complained he was racially abused. Serbia have been punished by UEFA due to events at that game FLASHPOINT: Danny Rose leaves the pitch in Serbia two months ago, after which he complained he was racially abused. Serbia have been punished by UEFA due to events at that game

THE Football Association last night accused UEFA of being too lenient after a list of sanctions were imposed relating to the controversial Under-21s meeting between England and Serbia in October when Sunderland’s Danny Rose endured the worst night of his career.

Rose was at the centre of disgraceful scenes in Krusevac and complained he had been the target of racial abuse during England’s 1-0 win in the crucial European Championships qualifier.

European football’s governing body have conducted extensive investigations and punishments were dished out last night, even though there was no indication as to whether Serbia had actually been found guilty of a racism charge.

While Blackpool winger Thomas Ince and Tottenham defender Steven Caulker have been banned for one and two matches respectively in next summer’s tournament, the heaviest punishments were dished out to their Serbian counterparts.

Serbia players Ognjen Mudrinski and Nikola Ninkovic (who already face year-long domestic bans) were issued with respective two and three match bans, while Goran Causic and Filip Malbasic were handed four and three match bans.

Also, Serbia assistant coach Predrag Katic has been given a two-year ban from football and fitness coach Andreja Milunovic was given a similar suspension.

UEFA have ordered Serbia to play their next competitive Under-21s fixture behindclosed- doors, as well as being fined £65,000 – £14,000 short of what Nicklas Bendtner was fined for displaying branded boxer shorts during Euro 2012.

But FA chiefs were disappointed that Serbia were not hit with harder sanctions.

General secretary, Alex Horne, said: “We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by UEFA with regards to the racist behaviour displayed towards England’s players.

“Let’s be clear, racism is unacceptable in any form, and should play no part in football.

The scenes were deplorable and we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message.”

UEFA’S control and disciplinary body did dismiss disciplinary proceedings opened against the Football Association, who had faced charges because of the reactions of Rose, a number of his teammates and Stuart Pearce’s backroom team.

Horne said: “It is The FA’s vehement belief that its players and staff acted correctly in the face of provocation, including racist abuse and missiles being thrown. We are therefore surprised to see that two of our players have been given suspensions. We shall await UEFA’s reasoning but it is our intention, at this stage, to support our players and appeal these decisions.”

Despite being a notable absentee from the UEFA statement last night, Rose will still serve a one-game ban for the red card he received after the final whistle in Krusevac. It means Pearce will be without the left-back, Caulker and Ince when the European Championships start in Israel next summer.

By that time Sunderland – who chose not to comment on the UEFA sanctions last night – hope to have Rose tied down to a permanent contract and have made the Tottenham defender’s future a priority for the transfer window next month.

To strengthen Martin O’Neill’s hand on the transfer front, the Sunderland boss is looking at ways of boosting his spending power.

One of the most likely candidates to move on is striker Fraizer Campbell, who has fallen down the pecking order at the Stadium of Light.

Hull City, where he was a success on loan during the Tigers’ 2007-08 promotion campaign, have been considering ways of doing a deal.

Steve Bruce, the Hull boss, signed Campbell for Sunderland from Manchester United and has instructed Hull’s owners to make contact with Sunderland in an attempt to do a deal.

It is understood that Hull are willing to complete a permanent transfer of the 25- year-old, although they would also be happy to strike a loan deal.

Campbell has been unable to force his way into O’Neill’s starting line-up despite earning his first England cap in February.

His only start of the season arrived in the opening day draw at Arsenal. If Campbell can be sold, O’Neill is also likely to step up interest in his attacking targets. Manchester City’s young Swede David Guidetti remains under strong consideration.

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