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Feb 15, 2013

Caulker ban quashed; Ince's upheld

A UEFA commission has overturned a two-match ban for England Under-21 defender Steven Caulker following scenes of racial abuse and violence against Serbia in October, but the one-match ban of Tom Ince was upheld.

Ince and Caulker both received bans for their part in the ugly scenes which marred the end of the second leg of England's European Under-21 Championship qualification play-off in Krusevac. The match descended into a brawl following the sending off of Danny Rose, who reacted angrily to racist abuse he received from the home crowd.

England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce led the delegation to Nyon to state the FA's case for their players, but was only successful in one case. Tottenham Hotspur defender Caulker was initially banned for two matches by UEFA's disciplinary panel but received only a reprimand and community service punishment on appeal, while Blackpool winger Ince received a one-game suspension which was upheld by the commission.

UEFA said in a statement: "The player Steven Caulker is issued with warning in respect of his future conduct and the player undertakes to perform one full day of community football service according to the instructions to be given by UEFA disciplinary services. The other decisions taken by the control and disciplinary body on December 13 2012 are confirmed.''

The Football Association had backed the players to the hilt - Ince and Caulker flew to Switzerland to make personal appearances at the appeal hearing at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, on the shores of Lake Geneva. They were accompanied by Pearce and two FA legal representatives, one of whom is a Swiss lawyer.

Ince will now miss the first game of the European Under-21 Championships in Israel, against Italy on June 5.

UEFA had also challenged its own rules and appealed for tougher sanctions than those handed to the Serbian FA. Four players and two coaches had been given bans for their part in the brawl, while Serbia were fined €80,000 and ordered to play their next competitive Under-21 match behind closed doors. The commission, though, chose to keep the fine the same, but increased the number of games behind closed doors to two.

UEFA was partially successful in its appeals in relation to Serbia, though - fitness coach Andreja Milutinovic was banned for two years instead of one, and player Nikola Ninkovic for three matches instead of two.

UEFA's disciplinary inspector, Jean-Samuel Leyuba, had proposed tougher penalties such as increasing Serbia's fine to €200,00 and banning them from the next cycle of competition, however no such punishment was passed.