The England under 21 side successfully qualified last tuesday for the 2013 european cup, beating Serbia 1-0 (agg 2-0) but Connor Wickham’s 94th minute goal was not what grasped the headlines.
After the goal Serbian fans threw objects such as coins onto the pitch in frustration and a familiar Serbian racist chanting began. The final whistle blew and a brawl broke out on the pitch after chants from the Serbian supporters of a racist nature were aimed at the black members of the England squad. Danny Rose amongst others took action, showing his anger by mimicking the serbian crowds monkey chants.
This isn’t the first time that Serbian crowds have been accused of racially abusing England players. The Serbian Football Federation were fined £16,000 after supporters racially abused England’s Nedum Onouha in 2007. But how can Fifa and Uefa react to an even bigger race row?
…to partake in racist chanting and abuse…
Fifa now has to look through footage of the match. Footage of the scenes already gives the impression that it was not just a few fans but many. Fans should be identified by tracking seat numbers and banned for life from Serbian international matches. Removing those fans who are not attending to watch football but to partake in racist chanting and abuse.
Another route Fifa could take would be to ban the Serbian national team from having a crowd all together. This would remove any chance of racism coming from the crowds. But this may be a step too far. Serbian ministers deny that the crowds partook in racist abuse at all so a problem may lie higher up in Serbian government, and potentially a campaign in Serbia to change their ways could be the best way to fix the problem.
…ban those found guilty…
Some Serbian teams now have overseas players, perhaps these players could create a campaign similar to ‘Kick it Out’, the English anti-racism campaign. However, this organization has been targeted as ineffective this weekend as many black Premier League players refused to support the organization, so before the FA calls for action on Serbia a good start would be to fully eradicate racism in English football.
Overall I feel the best way to go about the Serbian fans would be to ban those found guilty from all national football matches in the future. This would slowly reduce and hopefully remove any racist actions in following games