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UEFA Rejects Montenegro Appeal Against Game In Empty Stadium For Racist Chants

England forward Raheem Sterling gestures toward Montenegrin fans who were making racist chants after he scored the fifth goal in his team's 5-1 victory over the Balkan nation in March.

European soccer regulators have upheld a ruling forcing Montenegro to play its upcoming Euro 2020 qualifying match against Kosovo in an empty stadium as a punishment for racist chants during a recent match.

"The appeal lodged by Football Association of Montenegro has been dismissed and therefore the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) decision of 26 April is confirmed," UEFA said in a statement on May 23.

UEFA issued its April ruling a month after English black players were targeted by racist abuse during their 5-1 victory over Montenegro in the Adriatic nation’s capital, Podgorica.

After England scored its fifth goal in the March 25 game, winger Raheem Sterling cupped his ears toward the crowd when some supporters were making monkey chants.

The UEFA ruling means Montenegro will play its next Euro 2020 qualifying match -- June 7 against Kosovo -- in an empty home stadium and must display a banner with the wording “#EqualGame.

UEFA also fined the Montenegrin soccer association 20,000 euros ($22,300) for fans setting off fireworks and throwing objects during the match against England.