BELGRADE (Reuters) - The president of the Serbian Football Association (FSS) Zvezdan Terzic has criticised Serbian fans who directed racist abuse at England’s black players during their European Under-21 championship match in the Netherlands.
“For all their enthusiasm and patriotism, our fans must understand that outbursts of nationalism and racism will only cause damage to our soccer and our country’s reputation,” Terzic told Belgrade’s B92 television Web site.
“They have to control themselves and be aware that such behaviour will be of no benefit to our team,” he said.
UEFA has charged both England and Serbia for incidents during and after the match with the Serbs facing charges of racism and improper conduct after England’s second goal in their 2-0 win. England have been charged for incidents in the tunnel after the game.
Serbian fans behind a banner reading “Serbian Ultras” subjected England’s black players to monkey charts during the match. The referee stopped the game and ordered an announcement to be made over the stadium’s public address system.
European football’s governing body UEFA said its disciplinary committee will consider all the charges at its next meeting on July 12 but would take no action before then.
But Terzic also poured scorn on England for “unsporstmanlike conduct” for the manner they scored their second goal while a Serbian player was down injured.
Matt Derbyshire made it 2-0 after 77 minutes, going on to score instead of kicking the ball out of play when a Serbian defender was lying injured.
Terzic said: “”The whole stadium was shocked because English players have the reputation of being gentlemen who honour the fair-play code.
“There is no excuse for the fact that they didn’t kick the ball out into touch when our entire team stood still expecting them to do so,” he said.
Derbyshire explained: “I can understand why they were angry but I didn’t see the player on the ground. Footballers play to the whistle and the whistle didn’t go so I carried on playing.”
The English FA brought in a directive after last year’s World Cup finals that play should continue even if an opponent is down unless the referee blows to stop the action.
With England playing the Dutch hosts and Serbia facing Belgium in Wednesday’s semi-finals, both teams could meet again in Saturday’s final in Groningen.