SHEFFFIELD Wednesday’s club doctor Richard Higgins was a pitch side eye-witness to the mayhem at the Serbia v England Under 21 match which followed the “racism” controversy over Doncaster-born Danny Rose.
Dr Higgins is the Under-21s’ medic and was on the sidelines in Krusevac where England players and coaching staff were involved in ugly scenes after Rose was controversially sent off and complained that he had been the victim of “monkey” chanting from the home crowd.
Last night Dr Higgins declined to comment on what took place, with an official inquiry into the affair set to be held, but it is understood that he was not directly involved in the fracas. Prime Minister David Cameron has entered the row - saying he was “appalled” at the post-match scenes and backing an FA complaint to UEFA over the alleged racist taunts.
Rose said: “It started when we went out for the warm-up. They started the monkey chanting straight away. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could hear it. In the first half I went down to get the ball for a throw-in and the fans started again with the monkey chants, but the first half was nowhere near as bad as the second half.
“In the second half I had two stones hit me on the head when I went to get the ball for a throw-in. Every time I touched the ball there was monkey chanting again.”
The FA have raised the prospect of a future boycott of matches in Serbia, and general secretary Alex Horne urged UEFA to take the strongest action against the Serbian FA: “We were shocked and appalled by the disgraceful events,” he said.
“Our players and staff were subjected to racial abuse, violence as well as missiles being thrown at them throughout the match. What occurred is inexcusable and not acceptable.
“It is also clear that we must defend Danny Rose, who was sent off due to the frustration of being a target of racial abuse.
“No football team should be asked to play in any environment where racial abuse, violence and threatening behaviour is prevalent. We must question the validity of sending a team to Serbia in the future.”
Britain expects “tough sanctions” if racism is proved, said David Cameron’s spokesman: “If we are going to stamp out racism from football, then it is no good giving derisory fines, as have been handed out in the past.”
The Serbian FA has denied that any form of racism occurred and claimed Rose behaved in an “inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner” towards their fans.
n Below par England: p56