Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

Trio charged over match violence

Danny Rose claims he was racially abused by home supporters when England U21s played in Serbia earlier this month
Danny Rose claims he was racially abused by home supporters when England U21s played in Serbia earlier this month

The British Government is seeking clarity from Serbian officials after police filed criminal charges against two England Under-21 football players over the race-hate scarred Euro 2013 play-off match.

British Embassy officials in Belgrade are in talks with Serbian representatives after charges were submitted late on Tuesday night. They are against 12 people, including two unnamed England players and an assistant coach, who are accused of committing an act of violence.

A British government spokesman said: "Serbian police have announced that they have submitted charges against two England players and an assistant coach to the public prosecutor following an incident at the England-Serbia Under-21 football match in Serbia last month. We are investigating the full details of these charges before considering our response."

The spokesman said they were seeking clarity over the charges and its ramifications.

The charges relate to the brawl which followed England's 1-0 win over Serbia in Krusevac on October 16. The Football Association (FA), which stressed it is in "full support for all players and staff caught up in the appalling scenes", has contacted the British Government for advice. They are also in contact with Uefa.

Players and officials from both teams clashed on the pitch after Connor Wickham's late goal secured England's passage to next year's finals. The unsavoury scenes were played out amid allegations of racist chanting from the stands directed at England Under-21 full-back Danny Rose.

Video footage appeared to reveal the crowd targeting Rose, who was red-carded after the whistle, and who has subsequently complained about the treatment he received.

The extradition situation between the UK and Serbia and where someone could be forced to face trial are some of the immediate issues that need to be sorted, according to the FA's former executive director David Davies.

He said: "There are conversations that need to be had, clearly as a matter of urgency, between the government through the Foreign Office and the FA. On the football side with Uefa, there is also the issue of what influence does this have on the disciplinary proceedings with Uefa."

Both teams have been charged by Uefa over the conduct of players. The cases will be dealt with at a meeting of Uefa's control and disciplinary body on November 22.

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