Montenegro punished by UEFA over fans' racist abuse of England players

Montenegro has been punished by UEFA and will play their next European Championship qualifier behind closed doors after their supporters racially abused England players last month.

England's black players including Danny Rose, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi were particularly targeted by groups of home fans within the Gradski Stadion in Podgorica as the Three Lions won 5-1 on March 25.

Sterling celebrated his goal in the game in front of the Montenegrin fans, who were heard making monkey chants.

The Balkan country will now play their next match, a June 7 qualifier at home to Kosovo, in an empty stadium as a result, the Football Association of Montenegro announced on Friday.

The Football Association responded to the news and said it hopes the ban "sends out a message" in regards to racism both on and off the pitch.

There will be no Montenegro fans inside the Gradski Stadion in Podgorica when they play their next game. Credit: PA

"The FA acknowledges UEFA's decision to sanction the Football Association of Montenegro. We hope that their next home match being played behind closed doors sends out a message that racism has no place in football or in wider society," a tweet from the @FASpokesperson Twitter account read.

"We will continue to work with the relevant authorities in football to ensure that all players are able to enjoy the game in a discrimination-free environment."

Further charges, carrying fines amounting to 20,000 euros, were handed out due to the use of pyrotechnics, items being thrown onto the pitch and entrances being blocked.

Speaking immediately after England's win, Sterling called on UEFA to invoke a stadium ban as punishment.

"It is 2019 and I think there should be a real punishment for this, not just for the few people being banned," the Manchester City forward said.

"It needs to be a collective thing. This stadium holds 15,000 and I think the punishment should be that as a nation your fans are chanting racist abuse so I think it should be the whole stadium can't watch it."

UEFA regulations meant a partial ban was an option - but Montenegro will now play in a completely empty ground.