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Montenegro FA promises to ban racist fans as UEFA launch probe

Paris (AFP) – The Montenegrin FA said on Tuesday that it would ban any supporters found to have racially abused England’s black players after UEFA opened into an investigation into alleged racist chanting during Monday’s 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifier defeat in Podgorica.

In a statement, the Balkan country’s football association said that should UEFA’s probe conclude that the racist abuse took place they would “undertake all necessary measures to identify the irresponsible individuals” and ban them from “all matches organised by our Association”.

“In a multicultural and multiethnical society as Montenegro is, there is not any space for such conduct,” the statement said.

European football’s governing body UEFA announced earlier on Tuesday that it had launched the disciplinary proceedings into “racist behaviour” from Montenegro fans following protests from England coach Gareth Southgate and a number of players, including goalscorer Raheem Sterling, after the match.

The case will be dealt with by UEFA on May 16.

Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi said he and Tottenham Hotspur’s Danny Rose heard monkey noises aimed at them, with coach Southgate saying he “definitely” heard the chants aimed at Rose during the win, which gave the Three Lions a perfect two-wins-from-two start in their Group A campaign.

“There is no doubt in my mind it happened,” said Southgate, adding that England would file a report with UEFA.

Sterling celebrated scoring England’s fifth goal by cupping his ears towards the home fans — later revealing on Twitter that the gesture was directed at “racists” in the crowd — and called for stadium bans for countries whose fans racially abuse players.

“It’s now time for the people in charge to put a real stamp on it because you can fine someone, but what is that going to do?” he said.

“You’ve got to make it a bit harder… Do something that’s going to make them think twice. If their team can’t play with fans, it’s going to be difficult.”

In October, Romania were ordered to play one match behind closed doors following “racist behaviour” during their Nations League match against Serbia, in which fans chanted discriminatory slogans against Hungarians.

They also held up a banner linking refugees to terrorism and sang in support of Serbia’s territorial claims to Kosovo.

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