England To Make Formal Complaint To FIFA Over Flares Thrown By Ukraine Fans

DNIPROPETROVSK, Ukraine -- England will formally complain to Fifa about the flares thrown on to the pitch that held up their World Cup qualifier in Dnipropetrovsk for several minutes. Fabio Capello's team lost 1-0, ending their 100% record, and had goalkeeper Robert Green sent off for a foul.

England's David James surrounded by flares thrown by Ukraine fans.

"We have spoken to the Fifa delegate at the game and he is preparing a report on the flare situation," the FA's communications chief, Adrian Bevington, said. "We will submit a formal complaint of our own because we feel what happened was unacceptable." The complaints will be a severe embarrassment to Ukraine, who are due to co-host the 2012 European Championship with Poland.

About a dozen lighted flares were thrown into the penalty area from behind Robert Green's goal soon after kick-off, causing play to be held up. Stewards inexpertly tried to extinguish them, doing nothing to settle the goalkeeper's nerves.

When Green was called into action for the first time after the game restarted he committed the foul that led to his dismissal, and while the FA are not necessarily linking the two incidents, had this result been of importance to England it is likely they would have asked for the match to be replayed. That is unnecessary with England already qualified.

The manner in which the flares were thrown could be construed as a deliberate attempt to put Green off. They were thrown only at one end and there was a steady succession of them, where normally you might see the odd one or two.

"I was unhappy about the game having to be held up, because we started so well," Capello said. "But what can you do? I saw the police were searching the fans for flares and missiles when they came in, but clearly some got through."

Capello was also unhappy about the way in which Green was dismissed, because the referee initially showed the red card to Rio Ferdinand. It was Green who had brought down Artem Milevskiy and although Andriy Shevchenko missed the penalty, it seemed to infuriate Capello that if Damir Komina, of Slovenia, thought Ferdinand had committed the foul he could not have had a clear idea of what Green had done.

"The referee didn't seem to see the match properly," Capello said. "I thought we played very well in the circumstances. The only goal came from a deflection and we were creating chances right up to the end."

On an eventful night in the Ukraine, Steven Gerrard sustained a groin strain that will keep him out of Wednesday's match against Belarus at Wembley, and several witnesses said they had heard racist chanting directed at Carlton Cole.

Elsewhere, Germany claimed a place in the finals with a 1-0 victory over Russia in Moscow. Denmark defeated Sweden to reach the finals and give Portugal a chance via the playoffs.

Source: Guardian UK


Anonymous said…
I saw similar behavior at a soccer match in Kharkov several weeks ago. In that case the flares were thrown into the cordon of police officers who were stationed at the bottom of the stands. Instead of reacting and trying to catch the offenders, the police simply backed away from the flares and let them burn out.
Gordon said…
The English complaining about soccer fans is really the pot calling the kettle black. The English may have invented soccer, but they also invented soccer hooliganism.