While bashing the Football Association is pretty much a cottage industry among bloggers and pundits (as with most national associations), their response to events yesterday during England’s U21 match against Serbia, when Danny Rose was shown a red card after reacting to alleged racial abuse from the stands (later confirmed by England coach Stuart Pearce and compelling video evidence) has to be commended. Particularly after the Serbian FA denied the accusations outright (with no supporting evidence), claiming that Rose’s actions were “inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar.”
The FA released this statement moments ago:
“We were shocked and appalled by the disgraceful events that occurred in Serbia last night.
“Our players and staff were subjected to racial abuse, violence as well as missiles being thrown at them throughout the match. What occurred is inexcusable and not acceptable.
“After collating evidence from those present, including a senior UK Football Policing Unit representative, we are making a formal complaint to UEFA today (Wednesday).
“We call on UEFA to take the strongest possible action against the Serbian FA, their supporters and anyone found guilty of being involved in the numerous instances of violence and abuse.
“We have also been in contact with UEFA’s senior executives to express our deep concern at this matter.
“It is also clear that we must defend Danny Rose, who was sent off due to the frustration of being a target of racial abuse.
“FA officials made UEFA officials aware of racist abuse from sections of the crowd aimed at a number of England’s black players at half-time on Tuesday evening.
“This matter was discussed again during a meeting with UEFA after those disgraceful scenes which followed the final whistle.
“No football team should be asked to play in any environment where racial abuse, violence and threatening behaviour is prevalent. We must question the validity of sending a team to Serbia in the future.
“We look forward to UEFA dealing with last night’s events as a matter of urgency.”
One hopes the English FA will cleave to this standard in the event UEFA fails to address the matter adequately. This has got to stop.