Serbia suspends 2 players, 2 coaches after brawl
Serbia suspended two of its under-21 players and two coaches, yesterday, for their involvement in a brawl after an ill-tempered match against England which led to a UEFA charge of racism.
The Serbian football association said in a statement that Nikola Ninkovic and Ognjen Mudrinski are banned for a year from all competitions involving its national teams. Goalkeeping coach Srdjan Maksimovic and fitness trainer Andrija Milutinovic are suspended for two years.
"As we promised, our disciplinary commission members have carried out a swift but full investigation," said a statement posted on the FA's website.
It added that the inquiry was independent of a separate UEFA probe into the ugly scenes during and after an under-21 European Championship qualifier in the central Serbian town of Krusevac on October 16, which England won 1-0 with an injury time goal.
Both countries' associations face sanctions for the brawl, while Serbia has been charged by UEFA with misconduct over the racial abuse hurled at England players from before the kickoff.
England defender Danny Rose complained of racial abuse during the match, saying that trouble had been brewing throughout the match. He was sent off after kicking a ball into the stands after the final whistle, and appeared to gesture to the crowd that he had been racially abused.
Following the match, the British government demanded strong sanctions against Serbia.
Serbia's FA has repeatedly denied the allegations of racism. It said in the statement, yesterday, that there is evidence of the participation in the incidents by England's players.
"We have no authority to punish" the English, the statement said, offering to hand the evidence over to the English FA.