'Eight indicted' over Serbia-England U21 brawl
BELGRADE (AFP) –
Serbian prosecutors have indicted eight people, including four Serbian players, for their role in scuffles at the end of a under-21 European championship qualifying match, a legal source told AFP on Thursday.
Four Serbian players, an assistant coach and three Serbian supporters face assault charges over the incident in the central town of Krusevac two weeks ago, which visiting side England claimed had been provoked by racist abuse.
The source, who asked not to be identified, added that England assistant coach Steve Wigley and defenders Steven Caulker, of Tottenham Hotspur, and Leeds United’s Tom Lees were also being probed by Serbian prosecutors.
Their files will be transferred to British prosecutors, in keeping with an agreement in Serbian law on international legal co-operation.
Serbian police announced on Wednesday that it had charged 12 people, including five Serbian and two England players, for “taking part in and committing violence” during the match.
Under Serbian law it is then up to prosecutors to confirm the charges brought by the police and to decide if anyone will be prosecuted.
Last week, Serbia’s Football Federation (FSS) banned two of the country’s under-21 squad and two members of the coaching staff for their involvement in the brawl.
Midfielder Nikola Ninkovic and striker Ognjen Mudrinski were banned from playing for a year, while assistant coaches Srdjan Maksimovic and Andreja Milutinovic were each given two-year bans from working with any national squad.
The FSS gave no details of their offences nor made any reference to England claims of racist abuse.
In chaotic scenes, England defender Danny Rose was sent off for kicking the ball away in response to what he said was monkey chanting and physical provocation, as scuffles broke out between players, coaches and supporters at the end of the match.
The FSS has denied there was any racism at all and branded the England player’s behaviour “vulgar”.
England won the match 2-0 on aggregate with an injury-time goal to secure qualification for 2013 European championships.
UEFA charged both countries’ football associations for the incidents and warned Serbia of sanctions for alleged racial abuse.
The UEFA disciplinary committee will meet on November 22 to decide what punishment to mete out.