Platini backs Danny Rose in Serb racism row

Serbian player Milos Ninkovic, left, and England's Danny Rose, right, and Craig Dawson, centre, clash during their 2013 European Under-21 Championship play-off.
Serbian player Milos Ninkovic, left, and England's Danny Rose, right, and Craig Dawson, centre, clash during their 2013 European Under-21 Championship play-off.

DANNY Rose’s version of events in the racism row now engulfing Serbian football have been supported by Uefa president Michel Platini, who has described last week’s scenes in Krusevac as “disgraceful”, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.

Rose was subjected to racist abuse before, during and after England Under-21s’ 1-0 win over their Serbian counterparts last Tuesday night.

And the on-loan Sunderland full-back was sent off after the final whistle for finally responding to the taunts as Serbian fans seethed at defeat and former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson, captain of the Under-21s, argued that the defender had done little wrong except endure torment for 90 minutes.

As a storm of criticism, led by England, poured down on the Serbs in the days afterwards amid calls for the country to be banned from international competition, the Serbian FA adopted a “heads-in-the-sand” approach and tried to claim there was no racist abuse at all in the stadium.

But Uefa president Platini, who will have a big impact on what happens now, has informed the English FA that he was shocked at what he saw unfold.

British minister of sport Hugh Robertson wrote to Platini personally to express his anger and concern, and Alex Horne, FA general secretary, revealed there had been a swift response from the Frenchman.

“Michel Platini has written back and said in unequivocal terms that they were disgraceful scenes that we shouldn’t be seeing on a football pitch,” he said.

Horne then added his own rebuke after the Serb FA released video footage they said supported the view that “there was no unsportsmanlike cheering and insulting of players on racial grounds”.

Horne countered: “That’s not what I have seen on the video clips and it’s not what I have heard from eyewitness reports of multiple people who were on the trip.

“What the players went through out there is abhorrent.”

Rose, meanwhile, is looking to put the incident behind him and focus on his football having relished the occasion of last weekend’s derby against Newcastle, when he was one of Sunderland’s better performers.

He said: “I’m not just saying this because I’m at Sunderland now, but that was the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced.

“It’s a cliche in football, but the fans really were the 12th man and they helped us over the finish line. I’m just disappointed it wasn’t all three points.”