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FA angry over UEFA punishment of England players in Serbia row

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By Andrew Tuft

Friday 14 December 2012

The Football Association have admitted they are considering appealing bans handed to England U-21 players Steven Caulker and Thomas Ince by UEFA for their part in a brawl with Serbia’s U-21 side that was sparked by missiles and racist abuse from the crowd, the Daily Mirror has reported.

The melee between Serbia and England

Four Serbia players and two coaches were also suspended, while the Serbia FA was given a £65,000 fine and the U-21 side ordered to play their next competitive home match behind closed doors. The punishment given to the Serbians has added to the unrest at the FA, who believe the measures to be too lenient, something echoed on Twitter by Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

Caulker has received a two-match ban and Ince a single game, while Danny Rose will also serve a suspension after he was red-carded following the final whistle, shortly before the melee broke out.

The general secretary of the FA, Alex Horne, defended the actions of the England players and refused to rule out a future boycott of matches in Serbia, insisting the governing body would wait to read UEFA’s full report of the altercation before deciding what steps to take next.

The scenes were deplorable and we were hoping for a strong message to be sent out, so we are very ¬disappointed,” Horne said. “ It’s a hypothetical question at the moment about playing there but we would need assurances about safety before considering whether we would play there again in the future.

It is the FA’s vehement belief that its players and staff acted correctly in the face of provocation, including racist abuse and missiles being thrown.

We are therefore surprised to see that two of our players have been given suspensions. We shall await UEFA’s reasoning but it is our intention, at this stage, to support our players and appeal these decisions,” Horne added.

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