UEFA charge Montenegro with 'racist behaviour' as FARE demand heavy sanctions

Yahoo Sport UK

A leading anti-racism group has hailed the reaction of England’s players after finding themselves subjected to racist abuse.

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Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) said they had identified the match in Montenegro as ‘high risk’ before the game.

They are demanding heavy sanctions, particularly after Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling were both said to have been abused.

UEFA have announced charges against Montenegro, including ‘racist behaviour’ and ‘throwing of objects’, which will be dealt with on May 16.

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“We commend the reaction of the England players involved, no human being should have to face abuse and vilification for their race or identity, something that many Montenegrins will understand from the divisive and bloody recent history of the Balkans,” FARE said in a statement.

“We hope that UEFA will act decisively, the sanctions that could be applied for an offence of this kind range from a partial stadium closure to full stadium closure.

“The challenge of tackling racism and other forms of discrimination in European football however remains an ongoing issue. The societal change and education that is the ultimate solution is slow to take place.

England’s players rally together in Montenegro
England’s players rally together in Montenegro

“Even in the countries of Western Europe where there has been investment and focus on these issues discrimination remains a stain on football.”

UEFA have since filed a series of charges, with ‘setting off fireworks’, ‘crowd disturbances’ and ‘stairways blocked’ also listed against Montenegro.

The Times’ Martyn Ziegler adds the ‘minimum punishment’ is partial stadium closure.

Kick It Out campaigner Troy Townsend echoed FARE’s thoughts, slamming UEFA’s mismanagement of racism issues.

He told Sky Sports News: “Outrage, because in this day and age we’ve had the opportunity to deal with this kind of stuff, we’ve had the opportunity to put some strong messages out about racism and UEFA have failed the game again.

“Not to take the gloss away from another great England performance but all the conversation now is how our black players were being racially abused and how there was no action taken at the time as well.”

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A number of prominent politicians also took to social media to condemn the actions of those Montenegro fans.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “The racism directed at England’s players in yesterday’s match in Montenegro was truly disgusting. UEFA must take action swiftly. Racism has to be confronted and defeated.”

Labour Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson tweeted: “The appalling racial abuse directed at England footballers in Montenegro cannot be allowed to continue.

“For far too long UEFA has obfuscated its responsibilities. Officials must heed the significant words of Raheem Sterling and impose a full stadium ban.”

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