The events at the European Championship play-off second leg between Serbia and England took a turn for the worse on Wednesday lunchtime with a hugely inflammatory statement from the Serbian FA.
Despite overwhelming evidence, the Serbian FA have denied there was any racism, blamed Danny Rose for the crowd trouble and most worryingly of all suggested UEFA back their stance.
The Serbian FA statement (copied in full below) says the atmosphere was full of a “fair play spirit.” And that “Danny Rose, behaved in inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters on the stands.”
It goes on to add that the “FA of Serbia absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match at the stadium in Kruševac.”
With a killer line towards the end for many of us who hoped UEFA would finally grow some backbone: “preliminary reports of the match officials at the match Serbia-England do not mention a racist situation.”
This is a staggering statement – simply listen to Danny Rose on the video below to hear what it felt like to be racially abused before, during and after a football match.
Kick. It. Out.
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Full statement from the Serbian FA
Public statement of the FA of Serbia
Official statement of our organisation on the matter of the incidents seen on the last night’s match of the U21 teams of Serbia and England
In view of the incidents seen on the last night’s second-leg match between U21 teams of Serbia and England (0:1) and within play-offs for the 2013 European U-21 Championship in Israel, Football Association of Serbia issues the following
From the very moment of arrival of the England U-21 team in Serbia, the FA of Serbia and all relevant officials and authorities made their best efforts in order to organise their stay in the best possible way and preparation of extremely important match. With regards to that, we emphasise that organisation of all events related to the match went by in the best possible way and there had been absolutely not one problem until the last minute of the match.
During each and every minute of the match, until the mentioned last one, sports atmosphere full of respecting fair-play spirit was at the pitch and the stands, from warming up of both of the teams, through national anthems and applauses of all the present when the English anthem finished.
Unfortunately, after the fourth minute of the additional time and the victory goal scored by the guest team, unpleasant scenes were seen at the pitch. And while most of the English team players celebrated the score, their player number 3, Danny Rose, behaved in inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters on the stands at the stadium in Kruševac, and for that he was shown a red card. Unfortunately, it would turn out that was the moment the incident, that later developed, had started.
Ugly scenes were seen. Football Association of Serbia apologizes to the guests from England and the overall football community because of the unsportsmanlike behaviour of a part of the technical staff and players of the Serbian U-21 team. By this we inform the overall public that we will, as a matter of urgency, start an internal disciplinary procedure and punish the culprits after reviewing all the reports. It will be done whether a possibly disciplinary procedure by the responsible UEFA bodies will be started or not.
Furthermore, we will not either accept the fact that our players and members of the technical staff were provoked by the gesture of the English player Rose, since violence has no place at sports events. To be honest, we expect the same investigation from the English FA.
FA of Serbia absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match at the stadium in Kruševac. Making connection between the seen incident – a fight between members of the two teams – and racism has absolutely no ground and we consider it to be a total malevolence.
In support of our statement, there are preliminary reports of the match officials at the match Serbia-England. None of them in any moment did mention racist situation and we expect that human and sports culture of our football friends from England will win over misinformation spread.
FA of Serbia congratulates the English U-21 team on both play-off victories and we wish them competition success in the European Championship in Israel.
Football Association of Serbia