Disturbing. Shocking. Barbaric.
Those words may not do enough to sum up the awful scenes in Belgrade on Tuesday as players and fans brawled and the EURO 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albanian was abandoned after a drone carrying an Albanian flag (which was depicted on a map of the highly disputed nation of Kosovo) flew into the stadium before Serbia’s Stefan Mitrovic tore it down.
That act sparked pandemonium in the Group I game as the drone, which was reportedly being flown by remote control from Albanians outside the stadium, was pulled down just before half time in the Serbian capital.
Members of the Albanian national team tried to grab the flag from their Serbian counterparts and a mass brawl then broke out on the pitch. That melee forced English referee Martin Atkinson to lead the players off, as disruptions also started to break out among both sets of fans in the stands. All of this unrest was sparked after Albanian fans had been banned from attending the match between the Balkan rivals who often clash, mainly over the Albanian-dominated Serbian province of Kosovo that declared independence in 2008.
Almost an hour after the game was suspended due to the shocking incident, UEFA released a statement saying the match had been abandoned “due to a disturbance on the pitch” and the game was officially called off when the score at 0-0. Albania welcome Serbia in the return game in Group I on October 15, 2015, as things have a whole year to calm down between the two bitter rivals. On this showing, that’s not likely.
Watch the video above to see the crazy, dangerous and downright deplorable scenes play out as a UEFA investigation will try to get to the bottom of everything.