UEFA Charges Montenegro With Racial Behaviour
By Joshua Walters
Montenegro risk being hit with a partial stadium closure, at the very least, as UEFA launches investigations into accusations of racial chants during Monday’s clash with England.
UEFA said on Tuesday, disciplinary proceedings had been opened against Montenegro with one charge for ‘racist behaviour’.
The European football governing body would hear the case on May 16, 2019.
England’s black players were targets of racial chants at the Gradski Stadion in Podgorica as Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions whipped Ljubiša Tumbakovi?’s Brave Falcons 5-1 in the second Group A fixture of the EURO 2020 qualifiers.
Raheem Sterling was met with racial chants as he celebrated his goal that marked England’s fifth on the night, minutes before Danny Rose had been hit with the same spectacle by a section of the home crowd after attracting a yellow card for a bad tackle.
Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi also said after the match he heard a section of the Montenegro supporters make racial chants at him, and Raheem Sterling condemned the act and called stringent measures against the perpetrators in a post-match interview.
The English FA was expected to make a detailed statement on the matter on Tuesday, but was taken lead by UEFA, who has opened investigations into five separate matters from the game.
Aside from the racial chants, UEFA officials will also examine four other possible breaches comprising setting off of fireworks, throwing of objects, crowd disturbances and blocked stairways.
According to UEFA’s rule Article 14, partial stadium closure is the minimum sanction that a country or club can get if found guilty of discriminatory conduct and propaganda, of which racial chants is a part.
Montenegro fans have caused trouble in the past, but it is not clear if previous sanctions will be taken into account in this current case as they were not seen to be related to racism.
Clubs or countries who have already been charged by UEFA for racism can be punished with a fine of €50,000 (about £42,800) and or play a game behind closed doors.