FA chiefs mull Serbia boycott over race row

FOOTBALL Association chiefs have threatened to boycott matches in Serbia in protest after England defender Danny Rose complained of racist abuse during Tuesday’s bad-tempered Under-21 clash.

Serbia responded to the allegations by denying “any occurrences of racism” during the Euro 2013 play-off second leg and accused Rose of “inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar” behaviour.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson urged Uefa to take the “toughest possible measures” against Serbia, a call echoed by FA general secretary Alex Horne, who raised doubts over future England trips to the country.

“We were shocked and appalled by the disgraceful events that occurred in Serbia,” said Horne. “Our players and staff were subjected to racial abuse, violence as well as missiles being thrown at them throughout the match. What occurred is inexcusable and not acceptable. No football team should be asked to play in any environment where racial abuse, violence and threatening behaviour is prevalent. We must question the validity of sending a team to Serbia in the future.”

Tottenham’s Rose complained of being hit by stones and targeted with monkey chants, with the abuse intensifying when he was sent off following England’s late winner.

But the Serbian FA hit back, saying it “absolutely refuses and denies that there were any occurrences of racism before and during the match”. The statement blamed Rose for provoking the melee that followed, adding: “while most of the English team players celebrated the score, their player number 3, Danny Rose, behaved in an inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters”.

Uefa, which has been criticised for its meagre punishments for instances of racism, said it would wait for its delegate report before deciding whether to take any action.