UEFA are to investigate the crowd trouble and the racist chanting which combined to create an ugly backdrop to Saturday’s EURO 2004 qualifying match between Slovakia and England in Bratislava.

UEFA confirmed thatthey would launch an immediate inquiry into the first-half clashes between police and spectators, as well as alleged incidents of racist abuse directed against Emile Heskey and Ashley Cole.

Heskey described tha abuse as the worst he had encountered. ‘It wasn’t just a few people it was the whoe stadium,’ he said. ‘It was very hard but we tried to block it out.’

The match referee, Italy’s Domenico Messina is understood to have referred to the abuse in his report.

The disturbances during and before the match in Bratislava came amid a concerted campaign by UEFA to tackle crowd violence and racism within football.

Last week, UEFA wrote to the European football community urging that every possible measure be taken to eradicate racism and violence from Europe’s stadiums. UEFA has also backed a ten-point plan put together by the anti-racist network FARE.

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