UEFA to appeal Serbian racial abuse case, seek tougher sanctions
UEFA announced that it will appeal the sanctions imposed on Serbia and England after racial chants by fans sparked a brawl among players and coaches, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. The incident occurred in October during an under-21 match between the two teams.
The original sanctions were handed down by UEFA’s own independent disciplinary panel and consisted of a $105,000 fine on the Football Association of Serbia, suspension of players and coaches, and playing a match in an empty stadium. Two English players also received bans.
But in the wake of outrage over the perceived leniency of the sanctions–and comparisons to a $130,000 fine on Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner for wearing sponsored underpants–the organization hopes to send a message with stronger penalties.
“Having reviewed the motivated decisions for the sanctions imposed … the UEFA disciplinary inspector felt it necessary to immediately confirm his intention to appeal on UEFA’s behalf,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.
Groups such as Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) also lobbied UEFA for more stringent punishment.
“UEFA now have an opportunity to send out a message,” FARE executive director Piara Powar said. “It takes a lot of honesty and self-reflection to admit that one arm of the organization got it wrong … what happened warranted a harder sanction.”