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Montenegro punished after racist abuse of England players


England’s forward Raheem Sterling (C-R) vies for the ball vies Montenegro’s midfielder Mirko Ivanic during the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Montenegro and England at Podgorica City Stadium on March 25, 2019 in Podgorica, Montenegro. Savo PRELEVIC / AFP

Montenegro have been ordered to play their next home match behind closed doors following the racist abuse of England players by some of their supporters in a Euro 2020 qualifier in Podgorica in March.

England won 5-1 but the match was overshadowed by racist chanting from some home fans directed at several England players, including Danny Rose.

Montenegro will also have to display a Uefa banner with the wording ‘#EqualGame’ at their next game and have been fined 20,000 euros (£17,253).

That fine was for different charges of setting off fireworks, throwing objects, crowd disturbances and blocking stairways.

Rose later said he “can’t wait to see the back of football” and said he was frustrated at the lack of action taken against fans’ racism.

The left-back said: “When countries get fined what I probably spend on a night out in London, what do you expect?”

Raheem Sterling scored England’s fifth goal in the 81st minute and celebrated by putting his hands to his ears, a gesture he later said was a response to the racist abuse, which was also aimed at Callum Hudson-Odoi.

In injury time Rose was booked following a strong challenge on Aleksandar Boljevic, with more racist chants aimed at the 28-year-old.

Montenegro coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic said he did not “hear or notice any” racist abuse, but England manager Gareth Southgate said “there’s no doubt in my mind it happened – it’s unacceptable”.

The minimum punishment from Uefa for an incident of racism is a partial stadium closure, while a second offence results in one match being played behind closed doors and a fine of 50,000 euros (£42,500).

Montenegro’s next home match is a Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo on 7 June.

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