Serbian police 'charge' Wigley's players

Daily Echo: Steve Wigley Steve Wigley

Serbian police have reportedly charged two England Under-21 players following the on-pitch melee at the end of this month's European Championship qualifier in Krusevac.

Reports on a number of media outlets in Serbia have claimed that police in the central Serbian town had today charged 12 people including two unnamed England Under-21 players.

A further two officials from Stuart Pearce's backroom staff are also said to have been charged after the match erupted following the final whistle.

Players and officials from both teams clashed on the pitch after Connor Wickham's late goal secured England's passage to next year's finals.

Among those caught up in the melee were former Saints boss Steve Wigley, who is part of Pearce’s coaching staff. It is not known at this stage whether Wigley is one of the backroom staff members believed to have been charged.

The unsavoury scenes were played out amid allegations of racist chanting from the stands directed at England Under-21 full-back Danny Rose.

Video footage appeared to reveal the crowd targeting Rose, who was red-carded after the whistle, and who has subsequently complained about the treatment he received.

In the days after the game UEFA charged both countries while the Football Association reported "a number of incidents of racism" to the governing body in a dossier of evidence including the video footage.

The Serbian football association's response was to hand down lengthy bans to two players and two officials following an internal investigation.

Ognjen Mudrinski and Nikola Ninkovic, who clashed with Rose as the full-back attempted to leave the pitch, were given one-year suspensions while coaches Srdjan Maksimovic and Andreja Milutinovic were handed two-year bans.

The FSS also issued a qualified apology for the on-field trouble but denied any racism towards the England team had taken place in a bizarre statement.

In it they claimed Rose had acted in an "inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner" towards their fans.

The cases will be dealt with at a meeting of UEFA's control and disciplinary body on November 22.

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