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European Qualifiers Group E

Caulker and Ince hit with bans

England U21 pair Steven Caulker and Thomas Ince have been banned for their parts in the melee that followed the clash with Serbia U21s.

Last Updated: 13/12/12 at 22:43 Post Comment

A mass brawl followed England U21's victory in Serbia in mid-October

A mass brawl followed England U21's victory in Serbia in mid-October

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Ugly scenes erupted in Krusevac on 16 October after Stuart Pearce's side secured their passage to next year's European Championships with a 2-0 aggregate victory.

Danny Rose was shown a second yellow and consequent red card after he kicked the ball into the crowd at the final whistle - sparking a mass brawl that involved most players as well as officials and members of both management teams.

After a lengthy inquiry, UEFA's disciplinary panel hit Blackpool starlet Ince with a one-match suspension, while Caulker of Tottenham has been banned for two.

The bans are applicable only to games sanctioned by UEFA, meaning that Caulker will miss the England U21 clashes with Italy and Norway and Ince will be absent against Italy only.

Serbia, meanwhile, have been fined 80,000 euros for their part in the melee, and they must play their next UEFA competition home match behind closed doors.

In addition, four of their players have been suspended - Goran Causic, Ognjen Mudrinski, Filip Malbasic and Nikola Ninkovic for four, three, three and two games respectively - and coaches Andreja Milunovic and Predrag Katic are banned from football-related activities for two years.

Proceedings against the English FA, as well as Serbia player Aleksandar Pantic, were dismissed.

The FA and the Ferdinand brothers led a wave of angry reaction to UEFA's announcement.

FA general secretary Alex Horne said the sanctions did not send a "strong enough message" about racism, and that the governing body will appeal against the bans.

Rio and Anton Ferdinand also criticised the sanctions on Twitter contrasting it with a 100,000 euro and one-match ban handed to former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner for displaying a betting firm's logo on his underpants during Euro 2012.

Horne said: "We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by UEFA with regards to the racist behaviour displayed towards England's players.

"Let's be clear, racism is unacceptable in any form, and should play no part in football. The scenes were deplorable and we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message."

Anton Ferdinand tweeted: "Wow UEFA ain't serious with their punishment... So showin a sponsor is worst than racism and fighting!"

His brother Rio added: "Uefa are not serious at all on racism. Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players £fact.

"Uefa need to talk to this generation.....they don't seem to be up to date on this issue?? Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent £simple."

Sports minister Hugh Robertson, who had written to UEFA president Michel Platini demanding tough action for the racist abuse, also expressed his disappointment.

Robertson said: "I am disappointed in the punishment that has been handed to the Serbian FA given the widespread racist abuse that England's Under-21 team suffered that night. Racism is completely unacceptable and we need tough sanctions to help combat it."

Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination body FARE, said UEFA had failed to display the necessary leadership.

Powar said: "We are disappointed in the totality of the sanction handed out to the Serbian FA. The original offences warranted a more severe collective punishment than a ban on spectators for one match.

"This is a moment in which leadership to challenge discrimination is needed from all authorities. This sanction falls short of that objective."

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