The English FA have this evening released an official statement, regarding the racist abuse suffered by a number of Three Lions’ stars during their victory over Montenegro.
Montenegro 1-5 England
Gareth Southgate’s men travelled to the Podgorica City Stadium for the 2nd of their Euro 2020 qualifiers last night.
England headed into proceedings brimming with confidence, having put the Czech Republic to the sword by 5 goals to nil in their Group A opener last week.
And the stellar form of the visitors very much carried into their showing last night.
After Marko Vesovic put Montenegro 1-0 up early on, England soon roared back, as goals from Michael Keane, Ross Barkley (2), Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling eventually saw the away side emerge with a hugely-impressive 5-1 win.
However, an otherwise superb night for England’s players, staff and fans alike was soured by a number of Three Lions’ stars being singled out for what has since been labelled ‘abhorrent racist chanting’ on the part of the home crowd.
The likes of Raheem Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Danny Rose were all targeted, in a dark night for football lovers the world over.
As such, UEFA have since opened formal proceedings against Montenegro, with Aleksander Ceferin having confirmed his disillusionment at the general assembly of the European Club Association earlier today:
‘It is a disaster.’
‘I cannot say anymore because it is now a matter for our disciplinary committee, but I cannot believe these people still exist.’
BREAKING: UEFA open proceedings against Montenegro over alleged racist behaviour by supporters
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 26, 2019
‘A game for all’
The FA, meanwhile, have since responded to confirmation of UEFA’s swift action against Montenegro with a damning statement of their own.
The governing body slammed last night’s events as ‘unacceptable’, before highlighting the fact that there ‘remains much work to be done’ in the English game:
‘On Monday evening, England players were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting while playing in a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Montenegro.’
[1/5] FA statement: “On Monday evening, England players were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting while playing in a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Montenegro. This is unacceptable at any level of the game and we welcome UEFA’s decision today to take disciplinary action.
— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) March 26, 2019
‘This is unacceptable at any level of the game and we welcome UEFA’s decision today to take disciplinary action.’
‘Our immediate focus is on supporting UEFA with their investigation and the players and staff involved.’
‘The issues we saw last night are not isolated to any specific country, and despite progress English football still has its own incidents of discrimination.’
‘Our experience is that by combining both sanctions and education, while working alongside campaigners such as Kick It Out, real progress can be made. But there remains much work to be done.’
‘Football is a game for all and we must all take responsibility to work together and share our experiences and learnings to tackle discrimination in the game.’