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Robertson urges tough UEFA action
Sports minister Hugh Robertson has called on UEFA to use the evidence available to take tough action against the Serbian FA after its extraordinary statement denying racist abuse of England Under-21 players on Tuesday night.
England's Danny Rose said he had been subjected to monkey chants and hit by missiles from the stands, but the Serbian FA has denied his claims and accused Rose himself of behaving in an "inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner" towards its fans.
A YouTube clip filmed at the game appears to show monkey chants taking place after the final whistle, during a fracas in which Rose was shown a red card, and Robertson told Sky News: "I very much hope UEFA will use that and other pieces of evidence that are clearly available to take the toughest possible measures against anyone who is caught perpetrating this."
He added: "All you can say is that it speaks for itself, the evidence is there. No young man, or indeed woman, representing his or her country should be subjected at a sports fixture to this sort of vile abuse."
The Football Association reported "a number of incidents of racism" to European governing body UEFA after the match, and Robertson himself wrote to UEFA president Michel Platini on Wednesday morning to back up the governing body.
He said: "The point of my writing to UEFA this morning, having checked it back with the FA, was to back up our own football authorities in the stance that they have taken and to urge UEFA to take the toughest possible action against any perpetrators."
That action could include a ban from competition for Serbia, and Robertson said: "(That is) very much one of the options that I hope UEFA will consider".
But he added: "It's not for me to act as judge and jury, UEFA have to go through the process of establishing what happened. UEFA now have two completely contradictory accounts of what happened.
"They will no doubt want to have look at the evidence that is available on the internet and they will also have had officials there who can give them first-hand accounts of what happened, and it is now up to them to make a judgment.
"I hope that if they make the judgment that seems to me to be the only possible outcome, that they then follow that up with really tough sanctions that not only deal with this disgraceful incident but also send out a really tough message that this sort of thing will not be tolerated in the future."