UEFA orders Montenegro to play game without fans over racism

LONDON (AP) — Feeling “mentally scarred” by racist abuse, England defender Danny Rose said he never wants to play in Montenegro again in a rebuke to UEFA for only ordering the country to play one game without fans.

Rose was among the black England players targeted with monkey noises by Montenegro supporters during a European Championship qualifier last month in Podgorica.

UEFA on Friday ordered Montenegro to play in an empty stadium for the June 7 home game against Kosovo, and also fined the fined the country’s soccer federation 20,000 euros ($22,000).

“I’m lost for words a little and I am not surprised,” Rose told broadcaster Sky Sports. “I don’t think it is a harsh enough punishment for someone to learn from in the future, just a one-game ban and 20,000 euros. It’s a bit shocking but there is not much I can do now.”

Rose said after the incidents that he “had enough” of racism in stadiums and “can’t wait to see the back” of his playing career. According to Montenegro’s soccer federation, “a racist outburst by a small number of thoughtless fans” was responsible for the punishment.

“I just have to hope that I never have to play there (in Montenegro) again,” Rose said. “Obviously if I have to play there I will play. It’s not on my list of destinations to visit. That is not to say the whole country is like that but I have only been there once and I’m mentally scarred a little bit and I am not in a rush to go back there.”

The English Football Association said it would “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.”

UEFA on Friday also ordered a partial stadium closure for Hungary’s next game — with at least 3,000 seats left empty — for racist behavior in the country’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Slovakia in March. UEFA fined the Hungarian federation 18,500 euros for the racism and other offenses by fans.