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UEFA impose trivial punishment on Serbia

UEFA is feeling the backlash after their feeble punishment of the Serbian FA after ugly racial abuse marred the under-21 international against England. The match in October descended into chaos with Serbian players and officials fighting with the opposition and England players reacting angrily to sustained racial abuse.

UEFA’s response was to impose a one match spectator ban and a £65,000 fine on the Serbian FA. UEFA president Michel Platini can appeal against the sentence imposed by the disciplinary committee. FA chairman David Bernstein, and the sports minister, Hugh Robertson wrote to Platini to express their dismay at the sanctions.

Robertson said: "I am disappointed in the punishment that has been handed to the Serbian FA given the widespread racist abuse that England's Under-21 team suffered that night. Racism is completely unacceptable and we need tough sanctions to help combat it."

Platini has a record of hostility towards English football which suggests that he won’t be too responsive to the FA case. He may be more inclined to listen to the FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, who was also surprised by the UEFA punishments. "We will also take it up with UEFA," Blatter said. "There should be in all football strong, harsh punishment when it comes to racism and discrimination."

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand hit out strongly at UEFA’s treatment of the Serbs. "UEFA are not serious at all on racism," Ferdinand tweeted. "Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/ fans/players. Fact. UEFA need to talk to this generation. They don’t seem to be up to date on this issue. Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent. Simple."

His brother Anton was one of many who compared the fine to the higher punishment dished out to Nicklas Bendtner for the heinous crime of displaying his sponsor’s logo at the European Championships in the summer. "Wow, UEFA ain’t serious with their punishment," Anton tweeted. "Showing a sponsor is worse than racism and fighting!”

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