UEFA focus on Serbian fans after observers report racist chanting

June 18 – It was only a matter of time before racism reared its ugly head at Euro 2024 and it’s no surprise Serbia are the alleged perpetrators given their recent history.

UEFA are investigating allegations of discriminatory chanting by Serbia fans during their team’s 1-0 defeat against England.

England players were reportedly targeted with racist abuse during the match, although it is understood that no complaints have been made from the England camp. It is believed undercover observers in the ground contacted the tournament organisers about the chanting.

The Kosovan federation had already complained to UEFA about Serbian flags, chants and banners at the match, which it claimed contained “political, chauvinistic and racist messages against Kosovo”.

UEFA confirmed an ethics and disciplinary inspector would conduct an investigation into “alleged discriminatory behaviour” by Serbian fans, supposedly made by a spectator inside the Gelsenkirchen stadium on Sunday.

Serbia have also been formally charged on two counts, for their supporters displaying a banner that “transmitted a provocative message unfit for a sports event”, and for throwing objects inside the stadium.

Videos circulating on social media showed clashes between rival Serb and England fans near the city centre before the game, with tables, chairs and bottles thrown before riot police arrived. Gelsenkirchen police later confirmed that all the arrests were of Serbian citizens.

The fixture was one of four scheduled to be played during the group stage of Euro 2024 that was deemed “high risk” by authorities.

UEFA has sanctioned Serbia several times in recent past for fan misconduct and discrimination, including limiting ticket sales or ordering the team to play behind closed doors.

In November, Serbia were ordered to play their Euro qualifier against Bulgaria in a partially closed stadium after racist abuse marred their win against Montenegro.

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