Serbia to appeal another stadium ban for its racist fans ahead of deciding Euro 2024 qualifier

November 2 – UEFA’s disciplinary committee has fined the Serbian FA (FSS) €90,000 and a game behind closed doors for racist chants by Serbian fans aimed at Montenegro during a Euro 2024 qualifier on October 17.

It means Serbia will now play their crucial final European qualifier at home to Bulgaria in front of empty stands.

The FSS said it will immediately appeal the sanction, but if their appeal is not upheld by the UEFA Appeals Committee, the only spectators in the stadium in Leskovac will be children up to the age of 14.

The Serbian FA said in a statement: “Due to the importance of the upcoming match against Bulgaria, FSS will use all legal means, immediately file an appeal and try to mitigate the penalty. Fully aware of the fact that violations were committed by our fans and that we were subject to a suspended sentence, we will ask for a postponement or mitigation of it, in order to create the best possible atmosphere at the newly built stadium in Leskovac and provide full support to our national team.

“Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the stadium in Leskovac will certainly be filled to capacity, because the rules allow the presence of the youngest fans up to 14 years old.”

The FSS acknowledged that it had been fined a total of €144,250 for crowd trouble in its last two matches. But it also pointed out that a “previous penalty of two matches without an audience was reduced after an appeal to one match with the condition that the same or similar offenses are not repeated for two years.

“Unfortunately, despite all the preventive and security measures taken by the FSS (every ticket holder had the obligation to submit a passport and a copy of an ID card, in order to individualize responsibility), as well as the exceptional cooperation with the FSCG in the preparation of the match, the same offense was repeated, i.e. offensive chants that UEFA defines as racism.”

With an appeal seemingly to be based on the belief that the chants aren’t racist, win or lose, the SFF said: “Having learned from the previous experiences from the matches against Lithuania and Hungary and with a nice choreography that is being prepared for the match with Bulgaria, we are convinced that our team will have a great atmosphere on its last step towards Germany.”

Montenegro were also fined €20,000 and banned from selling tickets to their supporters for their next away match.

Contact the writer of this story, Aleksander Krassimirov, at moc.l1701550375labto1701550375ofdlr1701550375owedi1701550375sni@o1701550375fni1701550375