The Disciplinary Committee of the European Football Union is investigating the incidents during the European Championship qualifier in Podgorica: Dark-skinned English players had to listen to shouts from viewers.

Monkey sounds were heard as England’s black international Danny Rose was booked just before the end of the European Championship qualifier against Montenegro – just as Callum Hudson-Odoi gave an interview after the final whistle. The 18-year-old also dark-skinned striker had played in Podgorica his first international match. “This evening was meant to be a joy over his debut,” said national coach Gareth Southgate as he reported on the racial abuse against Hudson-Odoi and other players. “That’s not acceptable.”

UEFA CEO Ceferin: “A disaster”

That’s what UEFA sees. The European Football Federation launched a preliminary investigation against Montenegro. One of the allegations: “racist behavior”. The UEFA Disciplinary Commission will deal with the case on 16 May. According to the UEFA disciplinary code, “possible at least one spectator partial exclusion” is considered a possible punishment, in case of recurrence also games in empty stadiums would be possible, deduction of points or even a disqualification from the European Championship qualification.
“UEFA condemns such regrettable behavior and has always demonstrated zero tolerance for all forms of racism and discrimination,” UEFA said at DW’s request. “I can not believe that such things still exist,” said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin on the sidelines of the European Club Association’s (ECA) plenary meeting in Amsterdam. “Such a case is a disaster, we have to take racism seriously and fight it.”

Questions about incident ironed out

England had won the match in Podgorica 5: 1 (2: 1). According to the UEFA regulations, the referee could also have canceled the match because of the racist failures. Shameful was the reaction of the Montenegrins in the press conference. In the first question to coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic an official interrupted the discussion and announced under the protest of the English journalists: “Nobody has heard racist comments. Nobody! There was none.” Tumbakovic evasively declared he was focused on the game.

English football players are verbally abused by Montenegrin spectators (picture-alliance)Friendly is different: Female fanatic insults Raheem Sterling (l.)

Meanwhile, the Montenegrin Football Federation said it would “take all necessary measures to identify the irresponsible individuals,” should the allegations of racism prove true. But: “We have never had incidents of religious, gender or racial discrimination in international games and are sure they will not happen in the future.”

Ashley Cole was spit in 2013

However, this is not the first time that Montenegro has been targeted by UEFA for misconduct on the part of spectators. Six years ago, an international match against England in Podgorica, at that time as part of the World Cup qualifiers, got out of hand: Ashley Cole, a dark-skinned man, was spat on the pitch several times and spectators threw toilet rolls onto the pitch. There were no sanctions at that time.
In 2015, the European Championship qualifier Montenegro was canceled against Russia after spectator violations. Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfejew was hit by a flare on his head. UEFA beat Russia 3-0 in Podgorica and condemned Montenegro to a ghost match and a fine of € 50,000.

Hudson-Odoi: “Do not be fooled”

“Some idiots ruined a big night,” English striker Raheem Sterling told the BBC Monday night, calling for harsh sanctions: “There should be a real punishment, not just for the two or three people who did that – it has to be a collective thing. ” International debutant Hudson-Odoi, who has long been courted by the German record champions FC Bayern Munich, will not be deterred by the racist insults: “We have to keep our heads up and stay mentally strong.”
Also in the test match of the German national football team in Wolfsburg on Wednesday last week there had been occasional racist failures of spectators in the stands . The police determined that the DFB announced possible stadium bans.

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