UEFA Charges Balkan Rivals over Abandoned Euro 2016 Qualifier

Serbia and Albania have been charged by European football governing body UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee over the brawl between both teams that led to the abandoning of a Euro 2016 qualifying match in Belgrade on Tuesday.

The Group I qualifying match had to be abandoned after a drone carrying a Kosovo flag with a political message on it flew into the stadium towards the end of the first half, with a brawl between players and officials of both teams occuring after Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic grabbed the flag.

Match referee Martin Atkinson had initially suspended the match to allow tempers be calmed as both teams went down the tunnel, before the match was ultimately abandoned 30 minutes later.

As a result, Albania has been charged with “refusing to play” and the “display of an illicit banner” by UEFA while Serbia got charged with insufficient organisation, crowd disturbance, setting off/throwing of fireworks and missiles, field invasion by supporters and the use of a laser pointer.

Hearing on all charges will take place on October 23, with UEFA President Michel Platini describing the incident as ”inexcusable”, adding that ”Football is supposed to bring people together and our game should not be mixed with politics of any kind.”