England skipper Steven Gerrard believes football's battle to overcome racism is 'back to square one' after the scenes surrounding the Under-21 clash in Serbia.
England U21 player Danny Rose complained of being racially abused and enduring monkey chants before violent scenes broke out at the end of the Euro 2013 play-off game in Krusevac on Tuesday. Rose was sent off for his reaction to what he clearly felt was racist abuse, something the Serbian FA have denied.
UEFA announced charges against the Serbian FA and the English, for improper conduct of their players, and against the Serbs for "alleged racist chanting" by fans. Gerrard is calling for the footballing authorities to hand out severe punishments. He said: "The disappointing thing with what happened last night is it means you are back to square one."
Gerrard added: "We seemed to be making great strides forward to get it (racism) out of our game.
"With a situation like last night, it brings it back to square one.
"It is very disappointing but a lot of people above me need to take control of the situation.
"The authorities have to get tough. It is the only solution. No-one else can do anything about it.
"They are the people in control, who can give out massive huge fines and ban people. Why wait? Do it now."
England striker Jermain Defoe echoed Gerrard's sentiments.
He said: "If you are getting those sort of chants, it is not nice. It is not nice to experience anything like that."