UEFA to investigate Serbians after 'racist abuse' of England players
By Football News
Jordan Henderson has slammed Serbian fans after the England Under-21s were 'racially abused' in their Euro 2013 play-off.
Stuart Pearce's men won 1-0 in Krusevac thanks to a late Connor Wickham goal, giving them a 2-0 aggregate win after a narrow victory at Carrow Road last week, but the tie will likely be remembered for the wrong reasons.
At full-time brawl broke out between players, coaching staff and fans, with Steve Wigley the target of an attack, as was Tom Ince just after Danny Rose received a red card for reacting to alleged racist abuse, something Henderson was disgusted by.
Speaking to The Football Association’s official website, Henderson said: "Everyone is delighted with the result and going to the Euros, but what happened tonight wasn't nice and is not called for in football.
"There was a lot of racist abuse out there from the stands and a lot going on after the game, which is hard to take for the players.
"The players coped with the abuse really well. It's not nice, they kept their heads and were professional. I thought our players were brilliant and conducted themselves very well.
"The players completely condemn what happened."
Henderson also spoke about missiles being thrown from the stands, noting that they even had seats raining down on them, while he was bemused as to why Rose was sent off.
He continued: "There was also stones, coins and seats getting thrown at us. I didn't understand why Danny Rose was sent off at the end."
The victory means that the Young Lions have reached their fourth successive European Under-21 Championships in a row, as manager Pearce makes history to become the first manager to guide a team to such an illustrious feat.
However, as the final whistle was blown a number of altercations appeared to ensue between members of both teams’ players and coaching staff, with some players making gestures that they had been racially abused by the crowd.
And Pearce, 50, has confirmed that the incidents have been reported to UEFA.
"One or two racist incidents from the crowd (were directed at the players) and it has been reported to UEFA," he told ESPN.
"It's for them to deal with now. I'm just proud of my team for reaching their fourth tournament in a row."
But the former Manchester City man has praised the reaction of his players throughout the disgraceful scenes, during which Danny Rose was issued with a second yellow card after the final whistle.
"It’s very sad (the way the match ended), but we're united as a team," he said.
"I'm proud of the reaction of players and it's a real shame because it was a close game over two ties. It's a shame it was soured in last few minutes.
"I think that no matter what provocation comes your way, we're in a profession where you have to hold your dignity. It's the message I've always put to our players."