MANCHESTER United star Rio Ferdinand led a scathing attack on European football chiefs last night after they fined Serbia just £65,000 for racism – less than Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner was charged for wearing inappropriate underwear.
Governing body Uefa imposed the fine as part of a range of punishments relating to October’s stormy Under-21 clash between Serbia and England in Krusevac, in which visiting players were subjected to racist abuse from the terraces and ended in a melee among players and staff.
It is £15,000 less than that levied on Arsenal striker Bendtner for revealing the waistband of his underpants, which featured the name of a prominent bookmaker, after he scored for Denmark during the European Championship in June.
“Uefa are not serious at all on racism,” former England defender Ferdinand wrote on Twitter.
“Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players. Uefa need to talk to this generation…..they don’t seem to be up to date on this issue?? Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent.”
Ferdinand’s brother Anton, who plays for Queens Park Rangers and was found by the Football Association to have been racially abused by Chelsea captain John Terry last season, joined in the criticism.
He wrote on Twitter: “Wow Uefa ain’t serious with there [sic] punishment… So showin a sponsor is worst [sic] than racism and fighting!”
FA general secretary Alex Horne condemned the leniency of Uefa’s punishments, and its decision to suspend Tottenham defender Steven Caulker and Blackpool’s Tom Ince for their involvement in the post-match fighting.
“We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by Uefa with regards to the racist behaviour displayed towards England’s players,” said Horne, who said the FA planned to appeal Caulker and Ince’s bans. “We are surprised to see that two of our players have been given suspensions.”
Uefa also banned two members of Serbia’s coaching staff from football for two years and handed a quartet of Serbia players suspensions from two to four games, as well as ruling that Serbia’s next Under-21 match be played behind closed doors.