Football.com - everything football

Holloway calls for Serbia ban

By Football News



Blackpool manager Ian Holloway said Serbia should be kicked out of international competition after allegations of racial abuse from fans.

In an emotion-charged Under-21 clash last week, Serbian fans were accused of racially abusing England players during the match in Kruse-vac, but Serbian officials have denied the claims after being officially charged by UEFA over the incident.

Holloway said he feared several England players - including Blackpool's Tom Ince and on-loan Aston Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso - may be psychologically affected by the experience, saying he would keep a close eye on them in the wake of the match.

And, the manager called on FIFA and UEFA to strongly punish Serbia if their fans are found guilty of racial abuse, saying it is the only way to send a strong message the community that such abuse is unacceptable.

"Sepp Blatter (FIFA Presisent) and Michel Platini (UEFA President) can deliver some hard medicine by kicking Serbia – and any other nations with racist fans – out of international football," wrote Holloway in his column for The Mirror on Sunday.

"Racism is an issue you can't go soft on. They have now got to introduce a zero-tolerance policy. Any racist chanting and you get kicked out of the ¬competition.

"No right of appeal. No suspended sentence. One strike and you're out."

England's Danny Rose bore the brunt of most of the abuse, the 22-year-old who is on loan from Tottenham at Sunderland, saying his game was still understandably below par as he was subjected to alleged monkey chants and stones thrown at his head.

Rose was also given a dubious red card after the match for booting a stray football away into the crowd as his frustration become too much, with Holloway saying such punishment for Rose was disgraceful.

"I could have cried for Danny Rose when he was sent off for the most inoffensive reaction to the most offensive provocation," Holloway wrote.

"Upset turned to anger on Thursday when I heard that the Serbian FA had attempted to lay the blame for the mass brawl at the end of the game on the shoulders of England," he added, referring to the post-match fight that has seen both nation's football associations charged.

"The Serbs remind me of the alcoholic who thinks it is normal to hit the bottle first thing in the morning; or the gambler who puts the mortgage money on a nag because it's wearing his lucky number. Just like addiction, racism is an illness."

"England went through a similar process of rehabilitation in the mid-1980s when our clubs were banned from Europe for five years because of hooliganism.

"Crowd violence, just like racism, is a blight that belongs to society rather than just football.

"But the game must stop hiding behind that as a reason why draconian sanctions shouldn't be introduced."