Serbia awarded Albania walkover after violence at Euro qualifier

Serbia-Albania match
The match in Belgrade was abandoned after a drone was flown over the pitch

Serbia have been awarded a 3-0 walkover against Albania after their Euro 2016 qualifier in Belgrade was abandoned, Uefa has confirmed.external-link

But they have also had three points deducted after the game on 14 October was disrupted when a drone flew over the stadium with a political message.

The drone carried a pro-Albania flag. Crowd disturbance and a brawl between players followed at Partizan Stadium.

Both countries have confirmed they will appeal against the rulings.

Uefa's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) deemed that Albania had forfeited the match and in doing so lost 3-0. But it also decided to penalise Serbia over the crowd trouble.

It ruled Serbia must also play two home qualifying games behind closed doors and fined both FAs 100,000 euros each.

How the incident unfolded
A drone carrying an pro-Albanian flag is flown above the stands and pitch at the Partizan Stadium
Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic pulls down the flag which several Albania players then attempt to take
A melee involving numerous players ensues, prompting English referee Martin Atkinson to lead the teams off the field after some fans get onto the pitch
Following a delay of about 30 minutes, the match is abandoned

A statement from the Serbian FAexternal-link confirmed it will submit an appeal within five days of receiving Uefa's full written decisions.

The Albanian FA earlier released a similar response.external-link

Bardhyl Minxhozi, a senior member of the Albanian Football Federation's executive committee, told BBC Sport it was "a very sad day for European football".

Riot police had to be brought in to restore calm but the Serbia-Albania match was abandoned, as Wendy Urquhart reports

He added: "It's a very disappointing decision, not only for Albanian fans from a football point of view, but it's a decision which is unacceptable from a legal and a technical point of view.

"We have a very dangerous precedent from this decision."

Serbia will have to play their Group I Euro 2016 qualifiers against Denmark and Armenia in an empty stadium.

The match between the Balkan sides earlier this month, at which no away fans were permitted, was interrupted late in the first half when a flag depicting a notional 'Greater Albania', was flown over the terraces and pitch by what appeared to be a remote-controlled drone.

Serbia's Stefan Mitrovic grabbed the flag, prompting an angry reaction from Albanian players.

A brawl between the players followed after several Albanian players snatched the flag from Mitrovic and they then had to run into the tunnel for cover as some home fans invaded the pitch and attacked them.

Serbia-Albania match
Albania players had objects thrown at them as they ran from the pitch

Premier League referee Martin Atkinson suspended play in the 41st minute with the score at 0-0 and Uefa confirmed the match had been abandoned after a delay of about 30 minutes.

Albanian fans had been banned from entering the stadium by Uefa on safety grounds and the match was set against a backdrop of tight security.

There are long-standing tensions between the nations over Kosovo, the province with which both share a disputed border, and which is recognised as independent by the United States and major European Union countries.

It is not recognised as independent by Serbia - a bone of contention with Albania.

The two sides are due to meet in their return fixture next October.

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