• Premier League

Ferdinand slams UEFA over Serbia fine

ESPN staff
December 14, 2012
Serbian FA fined for mass brawl

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has led the criticism of UEFA after it fined Serbia £65,000 for their part in a fracas between Serbia and England players during an Under-21 match.

In the wake of the match at the Mladost Stadium, Krusevac, a 1-0 play-off win for England which took place on October 16, FA general secretary Alex Horne said England would consider refusing to play in Serbia as a result of the "racial abuse, violence and threatening behaviour" in the country.

And following UEFA's lenient sanction, Ferdinand tweeted: "UEFA not serious at all on racism. Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players.

"UEFA need to talk to this generation... they don't seem to be up to date on this issue. Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent #simple."

His brother, QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, highlighted the point by referring to an £80,000 fine incurred by Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner, who revealed a sponsor's logo while on international duty with Denmark.

Anton tweeted: "Wow UEFA ain't serious with their punishment. So showing a sponsor is worse than racism and fighting."

Serbian FA secretary general Zoran Lakovic conceded in a statement that the sanctions imposed had not been as tough as expected. But he also warned that this latest fine must be a warning for Serbia about their future conduct.

Lakovic said in a statement: "If we take into account the drastic proposed penalty by the disciplinary inspector Jean-Samuel Leube we have not been hit so hard.

"I believe that this is a final warning to all of us who work in Serbian football, including coaches and players and fans, because for even the smallest mistake UEFA can now impose the most rigorous punishment."

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley told ESPN that no one in football is taking racism seriously, and claimed Serbia should be facing a lengthy ban from Under-21 competition instead of a fine.

"This is not designed to stop anything. This is not a deterrent. It's nothing more than a slap on the wrist. That's UEFA for you, but then again who out there is taking these racism issues seriously?

"What UEFA has done will not have Serbia cringing in their boots. It won't make them say it will never happen again. Sling their Under-21 side out of competitions for five to ten years - now that will make sure they put a stop to it, end of story. Full stop.

"The world has seen it, and this is what they do. They want to play on in the competition, and this allows them to do so. Their fans will watch it on TV and then they will all forget about it. What a complete waste of everyone's time."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.