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Oct 17, 2012

FA urges UEFA show zero tolerance

The Football Association have called on UEFA to throw the book at Serbia following scenes of racism and violence at the end of England Under-21's Euro 2013 qualifier at the Mladost Stadium in Krusevac.

Connor Wickham's late winner was overshadowed by scuffles involving pockets of Serbian supporters who had spilt onto the pitch as well as players and coaching staff from both teams becoming involved.

Danny Rose was shown a red card after the final whistle for his angry reaction to alleged racial abuse he suffered from the home crowd and chaotic scenes ensued leading an FA source to describe the scenes as "the worst I have ever seen at a football match", and claim a UEFA delegate was struck by a missile at half time, long before the melee at the end of the game.

"The scenes in Serbia were of the worst of this nature - the worst I've seen in football," the source told ESPN. "The FA report will not mince its words about what happened.

"The FA made representation to the UEFA delegate at half time, and again more fully at full time. I can tell you that the UEFA delegate was struck by a missile! The scenes in Serbia were of the worst nature, the worst I have ever seen at a football match.

"The FA would want all the elements of what occurred to be taken into account and will be detailed, the racism, the missiles, the players and indeed FA staff who were physically intimidated.

"I cannot go into the exact wording of the report but it will specify that the FA would be seeking that it is deal with as of the upmost seriousness and that appropriate sanctions are applied to those found guilt, and it is not for us, of course, to determine that sanctions, it will up to UEFA."

FIFPro has echoed the calls for severe punishments to be handed out to those found guilty of crowd violence or racist abuse towards players, urging FIFA, UEFA, CAF and all other confederations to step up their protection of footballers.

Denmark internationals Patrick Mtliga and Joras Okore suffered abuse during a World Cup qualifier in Bulgaria last week and a number of violent incidents during Senegal's international match with the Ivory Coast forced the game to be abandoned in the 77th minute.

FIFPro secretary general Theo van Seggelen said: "We, as defender of the rights of all professional footballers in the world, cannot condone racist and violent behaviour against any player.

"I know that football is a game of emotions. Being a football fan myself, I have also experienced that it can hurt losing a game. That's football: you win, you lose, or you draw. And that's where it should end. You have to accept that.

"Let me get this very clear: there is absolutely no excuse for any violent or racist action towards a player. Racism and violence against players are incomprehensible and should be impossible. Authorities must guarantee players' safety, always.

"Therefore, FIFPro urges the football authorities and all national authorities to take these matters very seriously. We have said this many times before, and I will repeat it once again: FIFA, UEFA and all other confederations and federations must invoke their powers to banish these incidents.

"Racism has been a problem in football for many years. Even though FIFA, UEFA and other federations took measures to end this misbehaviour, it still occurs. Apparently, the sanctions imposed are not severe enough to eradicate this terrible conduct.

"FIFPro expects FIFA, UEFA and all others to come with a very strong message that makes it clear to everyone in the game, that there is no place for racism and violence in football"

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