UEFA charges Montenegro over alleged racist chants

By Liam Blackburn 26 March 2019 354
UEFA charges Montenegro over alleged racist chants

Montenegro have been charged by UEFA following allegations of racist behaviour during their Euro 2020 qualifier against England on Monday.

England boss Gareth Southgate claimed full-back Danny Rose was targeted after picking up a late yellow card, while Callum Hudson-Odoi revealed he heard "monkey stuff" in Podgorica.

Montenegro coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic said he had "not heard nor noticed any chanting", but the nation has received multiple charges from UEFA, including one for racist behaviour.

The governing body has also charged Montenegro for setting off fireworks, throwing objects, crowd disturbances and the blocking of stairways.

UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary board will hear the case on May 16.

Teenager Hudson-Odoi, who made his first senior start for England in their 5-1 win, had urged UEFA to "deal with it properly" while Raheem Sterling suggested "a proper stance" would be to issue Montenegro with a stadium ban.

Southgate stressed he believed sanctions alone would not get to the root of the issue.

"Sanctions are only ever of any use if they lead to education," he said at his post-match news conference. "Sanctions are worthless if there's nothing alongside that to help educate people.

"My kids don't think for one minute about where people are born, what language they speak, what colour they are. There's an innocence about young people that is only influenced by older people. We have to make sure that the education is right for everybody.

"In our country, the same. I'm not sitting here just criticising what's happened tonight because in our country we have the same issue. We're not free of it.

"You can sanction clubs but frankly that's not going to stop one or two people who [are] of the mindset from doing what they want to do.

"We have to make sure that we educate young people because we have a better chance with young people. We've got to lead that as far and wide as we can."

The Football Association of Montenegro (FSCG) has responded to the UEFA charge, saying that it will take robust action against the perpetrators if any wrongdoing is proven during the investigation.

A statement read: "In compliance with the rules of the proceedings, we will not comment on the allegations, but rather leave to the responsible UEFA authorities to take a decision based on the relevant evidence presented during the disciplinary proceedings.

"We need to take this opportunity and note that the FA of Montenegro has always been a committed partner to international football organisations in combating all forms of discrimination, on and off the pitch.

"At the matches played by our respective national teams until now, we have not had any incidents related to religious, gender or racial discrimination and we are fully convinced that there will not be any such incidents in the future.

"In a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society like Montenegro, there is no space for such conduct, which was the feeling most intensively experienced by our guests from England during the previous two official matches they played in Podgorica.

"In the case that racist behaviour at the match stadium is supported by evidence in further proceedings, the FA of Montenegro will undertake all necessary measures to identify the irresponsible individuals who might have incited such behaviour, which will constitute the grounds for them being banned from all matches organised by our association."

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Liam Blackburn