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European football bosses can no longer turn a blind eye to racism | Dario Brentin

The abuse of black England players in Montenegro highlights the need for a new approach in the Balkans and beyond

The shameful racist abuse of Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi during England’s Euro 2020 qualifying match against Montenegro on Monday understandably triggered outrage in British football. Sadly, however, it is not the first time that black England players have been targeted during games in the Balkans. The scenes in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, were grimly similar to those in 2012, when again Rose was subjected to monkey chants during an England U21 game against Serbia in Kruševac, and to Zagreb in 2008, when Emile Heskey suffered the same ordeal playing against Croatia. England’s black players are not alone. A banana was thrown at the Italian international Mario Balotelli by Croatian fans at Euro 2012, Partizan Belgrade’s Brazilian midfielder Everton Luiz was abused by FK Rad fans in the Serbian SuperLiga a couple of years back – the list is depressingly long.

Related: Raheem Sterling emerges as a leader in football’s fight against racism

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