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Caulker among banned players after Serbia fracas

ESPN staff
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The Serbian Football Association has been fined £65,900 for the fracas that occurred between Serbia and England players during an Under-21 match in October - with Tottenham defender Steven Caulker banned for two games for his role in the bust-up.

Blackpool winger Tom Ince has also been banned for one game by UEFA's Control & Disciplinary Body, with four Serbian players handed suspensions ranging from four games to two for their roles in events that marred the Under-21 Championship second-leg play-off game at the Mladost Stadium.

Disciplinary proceedings against the English FA were dismissed, although it received a warning after more than five England players received yellow cards during the October 16 contest.

Caulker, Ince and other banned players have the right to appeal against the decision.

In a statement, UEFA said: "The sanction against the FSS has been imposed for the improper conduct of its supporters during and at the end of the match, as well as for the improper conduct of the Serbia players at the end of the game."

UEFA was forced to investigate the unseemly events following the game in Krusevac, which saw players and coaches from both sides involved in ugly scenes at the final whistle - following a tense game during which Danny Rose claimed he was racially abused by members of the crowd.

Serbia fitness coach Andreja Milunovic and assistant coach Predrag Katic have been banned from all football-related activites for two years for their actions after the match - with the final six months of that suspended for probationary period - while Goran Causic suffered the longest ban of any player involved at four games.

Ognjen Mudrinski and Filip Malbasic will both serve three-match bans from national team games, with Nikola Ninkovic banned from two contests. Team-mate Aleksandar Pantic was reprieved, while Serbia's next home Under-21 game will also have to be played behind closed doors.

Mudrinski and Ninkovic had previously been banned from any national team games for a year by the Serbian FA, with Milunovic and Katic also ostracised.

FA General Secretary, Alex Horne, said: "We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by UEFA with regards to the racist behaviour displayed towards England's players.

"Let's be clear, racism is unacceptable in any form, and should play no part in football. The scenes were deplorable and we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message."

"It is The FA's vehement belief that its players and staff acted correctly in the face of provocation, including racist abuse and missiles being thrown," Horne added.

"We are therefore surprised to see that two of our players have been given suspensions. We shall await UEFA's reasoning but it is our intention, at this stage, to support our players and appeal these decisions."

He added: "It is the FA's vehement belief that its players and staff acted correctly in the face of provocation, including racist abuse and missiles being thrown. We are therefore surprised to see that two of our players have been given suspensions.

"We shall await UEFA's reasoning but it is our intention, at this stage, to support our players and appeal these decisions."

England won the game in question 1-0, qualifying for the 2013 European Under-21 Championship as a result.

Caulker and Ince's bans apply only to UEFA-sanctioned matches, meaning they will both be ineligible for the Championship group stage clash against Italy next June, with Caulker also out of the game with Norway days later.

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley has told ESPN he believes UEFA's ruling is "pretty pathetic" and that the Serbia Under-21 team should not be allowed to take part in European competition for five years.

"This is not designed to stop anything. This is not a deterrent," he said. "It's nothing more than a slap on the wrist. That's UEFA for you, but then again who out there is taking these racism issues seriously?

"What UEFA has done will not have Serbia cringing in their boots. It won't make them say it will never happen again. Sling their Under-21 side out of competitions for five to ten years - now that will make sure they put a stop to it, end of story. Full stop. The world has seen it, and this is what they do.

"They want to play on in the competition, and this allows them to do so. Their fans will watch it on TV and then they will all forget about it. What a complete waste of everyone's time."

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