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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Uefa talks down Slovakia ban
Emile Heskey said he was the subject of racial taunts during England's Euro 2004 qualifier in Slovakia
Heskey said he was subjected to racist taunts
Uefa has played down reports that Slovakia fans will be banned from attending their team's Euro 2004 qualifier in England next summer.

European football's governing body has launched an inquiry into allegations of racism directed at English players during Saturday's match between the Group Seven rivals.

And striker Emile Heskey confirmed after England's 2-1 win that he had been subjected to the worst racist taunts of his career in Bratislava.

Uefa will take into account the report of Italian referee Domenico Messina and that of its own technical delegate before deciding whether or not to take action.


Normally we don't have problems with racism - we accept all English football
Dusan Tittel
Slovakian FA

It could fine the Slovakian Football Association or force it to play its next home match behind closed doors.

But an unnamed Uefa source said that imposing a ban on Slovakia supporters travelling to England for next June's return leg was unlikely.

The Slovakian FA is set to be called to a hearing of Uefa's disciplinary committee after the technical delegate corroborated the evidence of the referee.

"The delegate has also referred to the racist abuse and noted also the events that were taking place in England supporters' end," said Uefa communications director Mike Lee.

There were episodes of violence involving the away fans, which led to local police clearing an area of the stadium.

Dusan Tittel, general secretary of the Slovakian FA, told BBC Five Live that he was "very surprised" by all the post-match talk of racism.

"Normally we don't have problems with racism. We accept all English football."

Uefa's investigation will continue over the next few days with comments being sought from both the Slovakian and English FAs and from the Slovakian police.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Slovakian FA's Dusan Tittel
"We don't have a problem with racism"
England's Kieron Dyer
"It was very distracting"
BBC commentator Terry Butcher
"It came from all sections of the crowd"
 VOTE RESULTS
How should Uefa punish Slovakia?

Fine
 17.20% 

Close ground
 25.57% 

Dock points
 17.16% 

Tournament ban
 40.07% 

19780 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Emile Heskey has been the victim of unacceptable racist abuseSad times
Racism comes to the fore in Eastern Europe

Judgement day

Slovakia madness

Football's ugly face
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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