UEFA condemn racist abuse of England players as 'a disaster'
Theresa May spokesperson calls abuse in Montenegro was "disgusting and completely unacceptable"; FA label it "abhorrent racist chanting"
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 26/03/19 9:07pm
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has labelled racist abuse of England players by Montenegro fans "a disaster".
Montenegro have been charged with racist behaviour by UEFA after several England players - including Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi - were the target of racist abuse in Monday's European Qualifier.
"It is a disaster," Ceferin told reporters at the European Club Association's general assembly in Amsterdam.
"I cannot say anymore because it is now a matter for our disciplinary committee, but I cannot believe these people still exist."
The FA has responded to what they describe as the "abhorrent racist chanting" during the game in Podgorica.
"On Monday evening, England players were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting while playing in a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Montenegro," the FA tweeted.
"This is unacceptable at any level of the game and we welcome UEFA's decision today to take disciplinary action.
"Our immediate focus is on supporting UEFA with their investigation and the players and staff involved.
[5/5] "Football is a game For All and we must all take responsibility to work together and share our experiences and learnings to tackle discrimination in the game."— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) March 26, 2019
"The issues we saw last night are not isolated to any specific country, and despite progress English football still has its own incidents of discrimination.
"Our experience is that by combining both sanctions and education, whilst working alongside campaigners such as Kick It Out, real progress can be made. But there remains much work to be done.
"Football is a game For All and we must all take responsibility to work together and share our experiences and learnings to tackle discrimination in the game."
Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman called for UEFA to take "strong and swift action", labelling the abuse "disgusting and completely unacceptable".
England's Sterling - who has previously spoken out against racism this season - called for a stadium ban following the abuse, questioning what impact fines have.
The regulations of European football's governing body state that if supporters engage in racist behaviour then "the member association or club responsible is punished with a minimum of a partial stadium closure".
Article 14 also states that additional disciplinary measures can be imposed depending on the situation, while "disciplinary measures may be combined with specific directives aimed at tackling such conduct".
Gareth Southgate confirmed England would report the abuse immediately after the 5-1 win, having confirmed he heard Tottenham defender Rose abused after a booking in the 93rd minute.
Callum Hudson-Odoi also insisted he heard monkey chants from the home fans.
But Montenegro head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic insisted he did not hear any racist chanting aimed at England players.
Montenegro also face charges relating to crowd disturbances, the throwing of objects, setting off of fireworks and the blocking of stairways at the Gradski Stadion.
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UEFA said the case would be heard by its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on May 16, prior to the next round of qualifying fixtures in June. Montenegro's next match will also be at home when they face Kosovo on June 7.
Prior to the announcement of the charges, anti-racism campaigners and politicians demanded UEFA change its approach towards racism, saying Monday's incidents showed the current regulations were not working.