There was a partial vindication for the Football Association in Nyon on Friday when Steven Caulker's two-match Uefa ban that had threatened the England Under-21 defender's participation in this summer's European Championship in Israel was lifted on appeal.
Tom Ince, though, must still serve a one-game suspension imposed in the wake of the controversial Under-21 play off against Serbia in Krusevac last October, which led to the host country also being punished for racist abuse and violent behaviour, after his attempt to overturn the original ruling failed.
Outraged by what were widely perceived as enormously unjust bans for Caulker and Ince, the FA appealed on behalf of the pair, but Uefa counter-appealed in an attempt to increase the sanctions imposed on both Serbia and England. Serbia's Under-21 side must now play two, as opposed to one, games behind closed doors.
Caulker's punishment, however, was reduced to a written warning in respect of the Tottenham centre-half's future conduct and an undertaking to perform one full day of community football service. Ince, the Blackpool winger, and Caulker made personal appearances at the appeal hearing at Uefa's headquarters in Switzerland, where they were accompanied by Stuart Pearce, the England Under-21 coach, and two FA legal representatives, including a Swiss lawyer.
The fracas erupted after England's black players Ince, Nathan Delfouneso, Marvin Sordell and, most notably, Danny Rose were subjected to racist chants from Serbian supporters during the 1-0 win which ensured Pearce's side qualified for the finals in June. Ince will now miss England's opening match in that tournament against Italy.
Uefa's disciplinary panel initially ordered Serbia to play their next competitive under-21 match behind closed doors, imposed individual suspensions on four Serbian players and two coaches and issued a £65,000 fine on that country's FA, less than Nicklas Bendtner was forced to forfeit recently for displaying sponsored underpants.
On Friday, however, Uefa – who heard audio linked evidence from Rose in Dubai, where the Tottenham loanee is warm weather training with Sunderland – proved partially successful in its appeals regarding Serbia's fitness coach Andreja Milutinovic who was banned for two years instead of one and Nikola Ninkovic, a player, suspended for three matches rather than two.
Meanwhile, the FA reminded the hearing that Jack Butland, Pearce's goalkeeper, had been hit by assorted missiles, Steve Wigley, England's assistant coach, was kicked in the stomach and Martin Thomas, the goalkeeping coach, was headbutted.Pearce said: "We respect Uefa's decision and we will now move on and focus on the finals tournament. We welcome the ruling to overturn Steven Caulker's suspension and accept the verdict regarding Tom Ince. Both players should be proud of the way they represented themselves at Uefa."