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Montenegro ordered to play European qualifier behind closed doors

Montenegro have been ordered to play their European Championship qualifier against Kosovo behind closed doors . Credit: PA

Montenegro have been ordered to play their European Championship qualifier against Kosovo behind closed doors after a number of their supporters racially abused England players last month.

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 directing monkey chants to England's black players.

The Football Association of Montenegro announced on Friday that UEFA has ordered Montenegro to play their June 7 qualifier at home to Kosovo in an empty stadium as a result.

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.

"Then when that ban is lifted your fans will think twice not to do anything silly like that because they all love football, they all want to be there to support their nation so it will make them think twice to do something silly like that."

Uefa open disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro

Credit: PA

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro, including a charge of racist behaviour, following England's 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying victory in Podgorica on Monday night.

Several England players - including Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi - were the target of racist abuse during the match.

Montenegro also face charges relating to crowd disturbances, the throwing of objects, setting off of fireworks and the blocking of stairways at the Gradski Stadion, UEFA has announced in a statement.

UEFA said the case would be heard by its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on May 16, prior to the next round of qualifying fixtures in June.

Montenegro's next match will also be at home when they face Kosovo on June 7.

UEFA regulations state that if supporters engage in racist behaviour then "the member association or club responsible is punished with a minimum of a partial stadium closure".

The PFA's deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes, the FIFPro European President, said he had spoken to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin about the incidents and received assurances it would be dealt with.

"Aleksander Ceferin has expressed his equal frustration with myself that racism had raised its ugly head again," Barnes said.

"Aleksander reiterated his commitment to dealing with this stain on our game and to taking strong action once the evidence has been properly examined."

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