UEFA will today be expected to impose swingeing sanctions if their control and disciplinary body find Serbia guilty over a racist chanting charge.
Two months after ugly scenes marred the England Under-21 team’s victory over Serbia in Krusevac to reach next year’s European Championship finals, UEFA will finally deliver their verdict.
A hearing should have taken place on November 22, however that was postponed “to allow for further investigations” by UEFA.
The Serbian FA, along with the English Football Association, also face a charge of failure to control their players given the way tempers flared in the aftermath of the 1-0 success for Stuart Pearce’s side.
It is the allegation of racial abuse, however, that is the focus of attention, with both sides offering totally disparate views.
Just 90 minutes after the game had ended, the FA made their feelings plain by issuing a statement condemning what they perceived as racism, and reporting a number of incidents to UEFA.
Full-back Danny Rose, who was dismissed after the final whistle for kicking the ball away in anger, complained he had been particularly targeted.
Rose, who alleged he was “slapped twice” before receiving his red card, claims he was subjected to “monkey chanting” as he left the pitch, but that he had suffered such taunts throughout the match.
The Serbian FA defiantly countered, denying there were any racist chants before and during the game, and stating Rose behaved in an “inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner” towards their fans.
With supporting evidence from both sides submitted, it is now in the hands of UEFA to determine who is telling the truth.
Following the match on October 16, sports minister Hugh Robertson wrote to UEFA president Michel Platini urging his governing body to take “tough sanctions”.
Prime Minister David Cameron echoed the comment, stating Britain expected as much should the allegation of racism be proven.
Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Clarke Carlisle was among those who said Serbia should receive a “significant” international ban.
If one is not forthcoming, there is the prospect of England refusing to play in Serbia in future, as has been suggested by FA general secretary Alex Horne.
The FA are also likely to be bitterly disappointed should they be deemed guilty for their involvement in the melee that followed the final whistle moments after Conor Wickham’s injury-time winner.
Objects were thrown on the pitch that was invaded by a number of fans, while players and officials from both sides clashed before leaving the field.
The FA claim their players were subjected to “extreme provocation”, and only responded to the situation in which they found themselves.
The Serbian FA issued lengthy bans to two players and two officials for their roles in the trouble.