ENGLISH football last night reacted with dismay over what was widely perceived as an inadequate punishment handed down to the Serbian FA by Uefa for racist abuse aimed at Sunderland full-back Danny Rose.
The 22-year-old and other black players were subjected to monkey chants on October 16 during an under-21 European Championship qualifier against Serbia in Kruševac.
Rose, who is on a season-long loan at Sunderland from Tottenham, complained about being targeted throughout the evening, and was sent off after the final whistle for kicking the ball away. He was seen applauding the home fans as he walked off the pitch as they continued to abuse him.
Uefa ordered Serbia to play their next under-21 international behind closed doors.
They banned six players for varying terms, including English duo Tom Ince and Steven Caulker, and two Serbian coaches.
The Serbian FA were also fined 80,000 (£65,000) for “the improper conduct of its supporters during and at the end of the match, as well as for the improper conduct of the Serbia players at the end of the game”.
But racism was not mentioned in the report and this, plus the sentence, provoked a furious
outcry. Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of football’s anti-discrimination group Kick It Out, slammed the sanction for Serbia as “paltry”.
He said: “Kick It Out shares the concerns of many in football that abuse aimed at black players isn’t taken seriously enough.
“This is a paltry slap on the wrist and again we haven’t seen decisive action from Uefa.”
FA general secretary, Alex Horne, said the association would appeal the bans handed out to its players.
He said: “We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by Uefa with regards to the racist behaviour displayed towards England’s players.
“Let’s be clear, racism is unacceptable in any form, and should play no part in football.
“The scenes were deplorable and we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message.”
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted: “Uefa are not serious at all on racism. Fines do not work at all.
“They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players. #fact”
His brother Anton, a former Black Cats defender, added: “Wow UEFA ain’t serious with their punishment... So showin a sponsor is worst than racism and fighting!”
England under-21 head coach Stuart Pearce could not believe his players were punished for the act of defending themselves.
He said: “I am concerned to see our players suspended by Uefa and we will continue to support them.
“I maintain that our players played no part in the aggression. From what I witnessed our players and staff were forced to protect themselves in the violent scenes that followed the game.”
Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination body FARE, said Uefa had failed to display the necessary leadership.
Powar said: “We are disappointed in the totality of the sanction handed out to the Serbian FA.
“The original offences warranted a more severe collective punishment than a ban on spectators for one match.
“This is a moment in which leadership to challenge discrimination is needed from all authorities.
“This sanction falls short of that objective.
“In relation to Ince and Caulker’s bans, the FA said they were surprised at the action and that the players had merely protected themselves.”
Rose’s one-match suspension for his red card will stand. Serbia fitness coach Andreja Milunovic, who attacked England officials, has been banned for two years, the second of which is suspended for three years. Serbia assistant coach Predrag Katic was also banned for two years, the final six months of which is suspended for three years.
Four Serbia players were also banned – Goran Causic for four matches, Ognjen Mudrinski and Filip Malbasic for three and Nikola Ninkovic for two.