Steven Gerrard has called for UEFA to issue the toughest possible sanctions to Serbia following the shocking scenes in England’s Under-21 clash in Krusevac on Tuesday night.
Danny Rose claimed to have been subjected to monkey chants throughout the contest, while others were pelted with missiles during the 1-0 win which secured a fourth consecutive appearance at the finals of the U21 European Championship.
Both football associations have been charged for the misconduct of their players following a mass brawl at the full time whistle, and UEFA is also investigating the alleged racist abuse of England’s players from the stands. And England's senior captain, Gerrard, is concerned that, unless strong penalties are handed down by the governing body, then its anti-racist message could be tarnished.
"The disappointing thing with what happened last night is it means you are back to square one," he told reporters. "We seemed to be making great strides forward to get it [racism] out of our game. With a situation like last night, it brings it back to square one.
"It is very disappointing but a lot of people above me need to take control of the situation. The authorities have to get tough. It is the only solution. No-one else can do anything about it. They are the people in control, who can give out massive huge fines and ban people. Why wait? Do it now."
Rose was sent off at the end of the game after retaliating to the racist abuse, by kicking a ball towards the stands, and the Serbian FA has since lambasted the Tottenham youngster, on loan at Sunderland, describing his behavior as "inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar."
Gerrard’s senior colleague Jermain Defoe also echoed the statements made by his captain about the despicable scenes in Krusevac.
"If you are getting those sort of chants, it is not nice. It is not nice to experience anything like that," the Spurs striker said after the Three Lions' 1-1 draw with Poland. "'I've had a few texts and, from what I understand, it was tough out there for the boys.
"Under-21s and seniors are such big games to play in and all you want to do is to be equal to everyone else."
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