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Kevin Keegan
"The abuse was ferocious, totally unacceptable given Beckham's magnificent performance"
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England goalkeeping coach, Ray Clemence
"The abuse the fans gave was scandalous. No player should have to withstand that"
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Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Beckham escapes Uefa ban
David Beckham was clearly upset by his own supporters
David Beckham was clearly upset by his own supporters
Uefa is to take no action against David Beckham after he apparently made an obscene gesture towards England fans following the 3-2 defeat by Portugal.

The news will please the FA and coach Kevin Keegan who reacted swiftly to defend the midfielder after he was subjected to "disgusting foul-mouthed abuse" by sections of his own support.

Keegan said: "I heard the abuse and I was ashamed."

"If you had have been in the tunnel and heard what I heard... I just couldn't believe it," he continued.

"It was very, very personal and totally unacceptable."

The FA said several members of the England team had been "shocked" by the taunts they received from a band of supporters, who were believed to have been drunk.

We would like to disassociate ourselves from the sort of behaviour that they displayed

FA spokesman Steve Double

Beckham, who was one of England's most impressive players on a disappointing night, was seen gesturing towards the England contingent as he headed towards the dressing room after the final whistle in Eindhoven.

FA spokesman Steve Double said: "As the team left the pitch some of the players were subjected to disgusting, foul-mouthed abuse from a small group who we would hesitate to describe as England fans.

"We would have liked to have seen them arrested for their behaviour.

"Although they were clearly English, they were not from a sector reserved for the England Members Club and we would like to disassociate ourselves from the sort of behaviour that they displayed.

Deeply shocked

"It is fair to say that everybody who heard what was being said was deeply shocked that their own people could have behaved in such a way. We believe they were drunk.

"We will be making observations about the security arrangements when the players leave the pitch for future games in the tournament."

Uefa spokesman Hans Hultman had said that a player who made a gesture and who was reported by the referee or his assistants could be reported to the governing body's disciplinary committee.

"The committee would have to take a decision on whether the gesture was rude enough to take action which could even include suspension."

On this occasion Uefa have taken a lenient view. It is the second time Beckham has been forgiven for gesturing to the crowd.

He was previously let off by the FA after he reacted to Leeds fans who made obscene chants about his wife.

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Keegan's crisis
After losing to Portugal, is it all over for England?

Jamie Redknapp on England v Portugal
Redknapp on England

The BBC's Alan Hansen on what went wrong for England
Hansen's verdict

See also:

12 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Keegan: We threw it away
12 Jun 00 | Euro2000
England v Portugal clockwatch
12 Jun 00 | England
Beckham: I've grown up
12 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
Hansen calls for Keown
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