Sanctions against Serbia and Albania upheld

AFP - [email protected] • 2 Dec, 2014 Updated Tue 2 Dec 2014 21:22 CEST
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Serbia and Albania's appeals against sanctions handed down over their abandoned Euro 2016 qualifier were rejected by Swiss-based UEFA on Tuesday.


European football's governing body, headquartered in Nyon in the canton of Vaud, maintained its original decision to award the match 3-0 to Serbia but depriving them of the three points.
The October 14th qualifier in Belgrade was halted when irate home fans invaded the pitch and attacked Albania players after a pro-Albanian flag was flown over the stadium by a drone.
The match, for which Albanian fans had been barred on UEFA's request, was goalless when it was abandoned in the 41st minute as Albania players fled to the changing rooms with chairs and other paraphernalia being thrown at them.
UEFA also confirmed that Serbia would have to play their next two Euro 2016 qualifiers behind closed doors, and upheld the 100,000 euro ($126,000) fines imposed on the two Balkan nations.
Tuesday's verdict leaves Albania in third on four points in Group I, with Serbia in fourth with one point.
The group is led by Denmark (7 points) and Portugal (6).
Relations between Serbs and Albanians are often hostile, due to historical and recent disputes which are stoked by politicians on both sides.
A major flashpoint has been Kosovo, the former Serbian province mostly populated by ethnic Albanians.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008 after almost a decade under United Nations control, imposed after a NATO bombing campaign to halt a Serbian crackdown on separatists there.
Kosovo play friendly matches but is not allowed to take part in international competitions, and several footballers with Kosovar roots have opted to play for Albania.



AFP 2014/12/02 21:22

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