Here is The FA's full statement following Saturday's Euro 2004 Qualifier in Mace
Here is The FA's full statement following Saturday's Euro 2004 Qualifier in Macedonia...
"Saturday's match against Macedonia in Skopje was England's seventh successive victory. It was Sven's 12th victory in 17 competitive matches. We witnessed 17-year-old Wayne Rooney's first international goal - a goal that helped to keep our country in pole position to qualify for next summer's European Championships. In short, this was a difficult match played in difficult conditions and our players deserve enormous credit for securing another important victory.
Unfortunately, this match will also be remembered for a number of unsavoury incidents off the pitch. As all of you are aware, we deliberately kept our counsel immediately after the match on Saturday night, preferring instead to carefully assess and consider what had happened by reviewing video tapes of the match yesterday rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.
It's clear to all of us that there was jeering of our national anthem. A Cross of St George flag was also burned before the kick off. Our black players, most notably Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole and Emile Heskey, suffered racial abuse from some sections of the home fans.
This is not the first time our players have suffered such abuse in this qualifying campaign and I can confirm that, on the morning of the match, as part of our routine operational meeting, The FA had taken time to explain to our opponents, the match officials, the Police and the UEFA delegate how seriously we viewed any form of racist behaviour.
The racial abuse started in the early minutes of the game. It continued through periods of the first half and then went on into the second half. I can confirm that all of the incidents were reported to the UEFA match delegate. We must now leave UEFA to consider its delegate's report.
Whilst we deplore any form of racist behaviour, it's important to remember that we have had our own difficulties in this area earlier in the year. Following the match against Turkey in April, we were heavily fined for the racist and violent conduct of a section of our own fans and UEFA gave us the most severe warning as to our fans' future conduct.
In line with our ongoing anti-racism campaign, we have worked hard in recent months to educate our supporters. For the most part, England fans have responded magnificently and we have seen a marked improvement in behaviour at our recent home matches. Our fans deserve credit for such a positive reaction. We would also like to thank all sections of the media for their support in publicising our ongoing campaign - your help is making a difference to this campaign.
Our country has invested heavily in anti-racism campaigns and, even before the concerted effort of recent months, we have made good progress in many areas. UEFA has also worked hard to rid the game of racist behaviour and similarly has made good progress in many countries across Europe where they have invested significant amounts in education programmes.
However, it's clear that despite all of our combined efforts football still has much work to do. We must continue to do all we can in the areas of education, communication and zero-tolerance policing. The FA will continue to do all it can to support UEFA and FIFA in this regard.
Turning now to our own supporters, whilst we very much regret finding ourselves having to take such difficult decisions, The FA was extremely pleased that so many England supporters heeded our warning and stayed away from Macedonia.
However, we were very disappointed to see several hundred England supporters in Skopje. We had made repeated appeals for our fans to stay away but, despite this, a small determined group of people decided to ignore our requests and purchase tickets on the black market.
This was far from helpful and, inevitably, the presence of England supporters in a stadium with no planned segregation led to a number of incidents in various parts of the ground.
In fact, some England fans asked to be moved because they feared for their own safety. This is precisely why we were urged England fans not to travel in the first place. Indeed, we will now study the pictures we have obtained of those fans who travelled and, as previously warned, any fans that are found to have been involved in any incidents of violence will be banned from receiving FA tickets for England matches for life.
We do understand and respect that, as ever, the vast majority of those fans who travelled to Macedonia were there to watch the football and were not looking for trouble. We also respect that in some cases people had booked flights and accommodation in advance of our decision not to make tickets available - but in such cases those people took a gamble - with odds of up to 1 in 10 even if we had made tickets available - on their ability to obtain tickets from The FA. They simply should not do this in future.
Once again, on behalf of The FA and the England players, we urge any England fans thinking of travelling to Turkey next month to stay away. There will be no tickets for England fans - and no segregation in Istanbul. As we have seen this weekend, England fans buying black market tickets in an unsegregated stadium creates even greater pressure for the authorities.
Our message to fans is simple:
Please listen to the advice of The Government, The Police and The FA - and stay away from Turkey.
Finally, I can confirm today that this Wednesday's final home qualifier against Liechtenstein at Old Trafford has attracted another fantastic sell-out crowd of 67,000 people.
We sincerely hope that our recent magnificent record of good behaviour of our fans at home matches continues. The 67,000 fans that will pack into Old Trafford are amongst the millions of people in our country who desperately want to see the team compete in Portugal next summer.
Watching England is not just about those who attend matches - home or away - it's a matter for a country of football fans. We must keep everyone's interests uppermost in our minds.
The FA would like to ask all fans to do what they can to ensure direct qualification by providing the team with great support this Wednesday - and by staying away from Turkey next month. "