FA set to discover Caulker and Lees fate over criminal charges from Serbia
09:44 GMT, 2 November 2012
The Football Association are hoping to hear from Serbia today about criminal charges laid against England Under 21 internationals Steven Caulker and Tom Lees, plus coach Steve Wigley.
Communication with the Balkan nation has been difficult and frustrating and establishing exactly what is happening in the process has been confusing.
Local reports suggested the files had been handed over to British jurisdiction, but embassy officials in Belgrade have been working since Thursday to discover whether that is the case.
Attacked: England coach Steve Wigley (centre) was surrounded in the mass brawl in Serbia
The charges arose in the wake of
England Under-21s' stormy qualifier in Krusevac last month but whether
prosecutions are to follow is unclear.
In the interim, Tottenham manager
Andre Villas-Boas is confident his 20-year-old defender Caulker is fully
focused on football ahead of the visit of Wigan.
'We spoke to the player,' said the Spurs boss.
'At the moment we don't have enough
information, nor do the FA, although there is contact between the FA,
the government and the embassy in Serbia to try to find out more
information about the speculation that is coming out.
'Regarding the player I think he will be ready to play.
'I think he obviously has a good chance because he has been doing quite well to make selection.
'I am not worried yet with the consequences of what can happen.
'We are still finding out more information.'
Progress was slow yesterday and,
having issued a statement in the morning, the Football Association did
not get any further updates.
'The FA continues to remain in close
contact with the UK Government regarding the continued media reports of
Serbian police charging England U21 players and staff,' said a statement
'There remains no formal communication of any charges to the FA or the government.
Violent conduct charge: Tottenham and England Under 21 defender Steven Caulker (second left)
'However, we understand there has
been a verbal communication of the names of the individuals concerned,
which we now believe to be England players Steven Caulker and Tom Lees,
and coach Steve Wigley.
'The FA would like to reaffirm its
support for all of our players and staff and we have spoken with the
players' clubs and those named to express this.
'The FA has been taking legal advice in both the UK and Serbia to provide appropriate protection should any charges be brought.
'We welcome the support we are receiving from the UK government.'
Trouble flared at the match on
October 16 after England's Connor Wickham struck in injury time to
secure a 1-0 win and passage to next summer's finals in Israel courtesy
of a 2-0 aggregate success.
Missiles were thrown and things
turned ugly as some fans got on to the pitch, while there were clashes
involving players and staff from both teams.
The Serbian Football Association
(FSS) handed lengthy bans to two of their own players and two officials
for their part in the confrontations.
Charged: Trouble erupted in Krusevac after the Euro 2013 play-off tie
But the trouble also played out against a backdrop of alleged racial abuse from the stands towards England players.
Defender Danny Rose, who made a
specific complaint, was sent off after the final whistle for kicking a
ball away in anger amid the chaos.
European governing body UEFA launched
their own disciplinary proceedings, charging the FA over the behaviour
of their players and the FSS with the same and for the alleged racist
UEFA's control and disciplinary body
will convene on November 22 to deal with the case, but the police
investigation will have no bearing on that meeting.