Stones, coins and lighters thrown at Albanian players and officials
A chunk of concrete, stones, coins and lighters were hurled at Albania’s players and officials before and during the match against bitter rivals Serbia in the Euro qualifiers, the Albanian FA said on Thursday (Oct 16).
The match was abandoned amid on-field clashes,
While both countries blame each other for the violence now being investigated by Uefa, Albanian Football Association (AFA) president Armando Duka demanded a "complete and independent" inquiry into the events that have further poisoned relations between the countries, AFP reported.
English referee Martin Atkinson (R) speaks to Ansi Agolli of Albania during the match before the violence unfolded. PHOTO: Reuters
The Serbian and Albanian Football Associations both face seven charges between them after the politically sensitive fixture erupted into violence when a remote-controlled drone appeared inside Belgrade’s Partizan Stadium on Tuesday (Oct 14), carrying the flag of a "Greater Albania" which includes disputed Kosovo, The Independent reported.
Serbian centre back Stefan Mitrovic successfully pulled the flag to the ground only to have it snatched from his hands by Albanian player Bekim Balaj, who ran off with it. That action provoked a chair-wielding Serbian fan to strike Balaj.
Serbian centre back Stefan Mitrovic pulls the flag to the ground as it flew over the stadium with a remote-controlled drone. PHOTO: AFP
BBC Sport reported that Albanian players were left "emotionally shaken and psychologically distraught" by the violence.
Michel Platini, the Uefa president, said: "Football is supposed to bring people together and our game should not be mixed with politics. The scenes in Belgrade last night were inexcusable."
Sources: BBC, The Independent and AFP.