UEFA to appeal Serbian racial abuse case, seek tougher sanctions
UEFA announced that it will appeal the sanctions imposed on Serbia and England after racial chants by fans sparked a brawl among players and coaches, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. The incident occurred in October during an under-21 match between the two teams.
The original sanctions were handed down by UEFA's own independent disciplinary panel and consisted of a $105,000 fine on the Football Association of Serbia, suspension of players and coaches, and playing a match in an empty stadium. Two English players also received bans.
But in the wake of outrage over the perceived leniency of the sanctions--and comparisons to a $130,000 fine on Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner for wearing sponsored underpants--the organization hopes to send a message with stronger penalties.
"Having reviewed the motivated decisions for the sanctions imposed ... the UEFA disciplinary inspector felt it necessary to immediately confirm his intention to appeal on UEFA's behalf," European football's governing body said in a statement.
Groups such as Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) also lobbied UEFA for more stringent punishment.
"UEFA now have an opportunity to send out a message," FARE executive director Piara Powar said. "It takes a lot of honesty and self-reflection to admit that one arm of the organization got it wrong ... what happened warranted a harder sanction."