and Albania's players clash during the Euro 2016
Group I qualifying match between Serbia and Albania,
at the Partizan stadium in Belgrade, Serbia,
Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. The 2016 European
Championship qualifier between Serbia and Albania
was abandoned on Tuesday after skirmishes broke out
on the pitch involving players and fans over an
Albanian flag that was flown above the stadium by a
— Serbia received tougher sanctions than Albania when
UEFA punished the Balkan rivals on Friday for the on-field
violence sparked by a banner being flown by a drone over
European Championship qualifier in Belgrade was abandoned
last week after an Albanian nationalist banner was flown
in by a remote-controlled device, sparking fighting among
players and fans.
the source of the banner remains unclear, UEFA on Friday
ruled that Albania forfeited the Oct. 14 match because its
players refused to return to the pitch amid the disorder.
UEFA's disciplinary body awarded Serbia a 3-0 win, but
docked the three points gained by a win.
was also ordered to play its next two Euro 2016 qualifiers
behind closed doors without fans, starting with next
month's game against Denmark, as a result of crowd
disturbances and fireworks and missiles that were set off
during the Albania game.
Serbian and Albanian federations were each fined 100,000
Swiss Francs ($105,000). Both criticized UEFA's verdict.
Albanians expected the game to be awarded to them as a
victory and are planning to appeal. Albanian Prime
Minister Edi Rama complained there was "no
justice" from UEFA and backed the football federation
"to open a legal battle to the end."
national football team supporters light a flare
during the Euro 2016 Group I qualifying match
between Serbia and Albania at the Partizan stadium
in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. The
European Championship qualifier between Serbia and
Albania was suspended on Tuesday after pitch
skirmishes involving players and fans over an
Albanian flag banner that was flown above the
stadium by a drone.
being awarded no points from the game, Albania remains
tied with Denmark on four points in the leading positions
in Group I. Serbia has just one point after playing twice,
the same as last-place Armenia.
coach Giovanni de Biaisi criticized UEFA for denying his
team "what we deserved on the pitch," and
federation president Armand Duka said he was
do not understand what precedent this may set when a squad
physically beats the opposing players on the pitch,"
Duka told private TV station Ora-News. "I do not know
if there is a greater scandal than this."
planned emergency session of the Serbian federation on
Friday, vice president Goran Milanovic told the private
Beta news agency: "I'm not happy with the
the latest chapter in decades of friction between Serbia
and Albania, mainly over Kosovo, a former ethnic
Albanian-dominated Serbian province that declared
independence in 2008. Serbia has never accepted Kosovo's
deemed that because there is no ongoing conflict between
Serbia and Albania they should not be separated in
qualifying like Armenia and Azerbaijan, who have a
territorial dispute, and Gibraltar and Spain, who are at
odds over the sovereignty of the British territory.
fans with flares waiting for the arrival of their
national soccer team from Belgrade at Tirana
International Mother Teresa Airport, early
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Serbian officials accused
Albania on Wednesday of a deliberate political
provocation after a drone flew an Albanian
nationalist banner over a stadium in Belgrade during
a soccer match between the two Balkan rivals,
sparking violence between players and fans.
Albania's first match in Belgrade since 1967, the visiting
national anthem was loudly jeered by Serbian fans and
derogatory chants were heard throughout. Serbian
supporters also threw flares and other objects at Albanian
that set off the disorder carried a banner showing a
so-called map of "greater Albania" including
Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. A Serbia player pulled the
banner down, while Albanian players tried to protect it.
Fans hurled broken seats and other objects, and attacked
Albanian players, who fled to the dressing room and
refused to return.
stands, Albania will be hosting Serbia in the return match
on Oct. 8, 2015 in the penultimate game in qualifying for
the Euro 2016 finals.
is unhappy that its fans will be excluded from the match
in Serbia on Nov. 14 as a result of UEFA's sanction.
ahead, we will focus our efforts so that the Danish fans
who have already bought a trip to Belgrade before the UEFA
sanctions will not be affected by the spectator ban,"
Claus Bretton-Meyer, head of the Danish football
federation said in a statement.
said he will contact the Serbian federation and UEFA to
push for Danish fans to be allowed access to the game and
offer assurances about the safety of the visiting players.