Shame on Serbia: Young England footballers and coaches involved in mass brawl following racist abuse hurled by fans

England’s Under 21 footballers and coaching staff were involved in a mass brawl following racist chanting at a match in Serbia.

The trouble flared when England players were pelted with missiles as they celebrated a late goal before Spurs defender Danny Rose was sent off for kicking the ball into the crowd.

Rose appeared to be subjected to monkey chants from the home supporters as as he left the field of play and responded by putting his thumbs up and then moving both arms under his shoulders in a monkey gesture.

With tensions boiling over, players from both sides were involved in angry exchanges before punches and kicks were thrown as a brawl erupted among players and coaching staff.

Scuffles broke out when supporters invaded the field moments after Connor Wickham struck in injury time to complete a 2-0 aggregate win and book England’s place at next summer’s tournament.

England assistant coach Steve Wigley was photographed being manhandled by both opposition players and training staff, while England coach Martin Thomas was headbutted by one of his Serbian counterparts.

The Football Association have confirmed they have reported ‘a number of incidents of racism’ to UEFA following the match in Krusevac.

In a statement The FA said it ‘condemns both the scenes of racism and the confrontation at the final whistle during which time our players and staff were under extreme provocation.’
Stuart Pearce told ESPN: ‘I think there were one or two racist incidents that came on from the crowd and they have been reported to UEFA, I believe, by ourselves.

‘It is in their hands now, they will have to deal with that.

‘I am very proud of my players and my staff and very proud of the achievement in getting to a fourth tournament in a row.

‘It is very sad, but we are united as a team and a staff.

‘A lot is happening in our country with regard to stamping out racism and I am very proud of the reaction of our players towards the end.

‘It is a real shame because over two ties it was a really close game – two good teams going hammer and tongs at each other.

‘It is just a shame it was soured in the last few minutes of the second leg of the tie.’

He added: ‘Savo Milosevic, their technical director, has come to our dressing room and apologised for any behaviour that was unsavoury.

‘I never want to see any football matches end like that, this is a sporting arena.’

Former England star Paul Ince, working as a pundit on ESPN, has called for Serbia to be banned from tournament football for 10 years.

He said: ‘As soon as the players were in the tunnel apparently there were issues. The Serbian conditioning coach was apparently jostling and getting his face in England players’ faces.


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