UEFA begins investigation into fan, on-field chaos in Russia/Montenegro match


The fallout from Friday’s chaotic Euro 2016 qualifying match between Russia and Montenegro continued Monday with the leveling of charges against both sides.

After two Russian players were targets of fan-thrown objects — one a flare that sent goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to the hospital and caused a 30-minute delay — an on-field skirmish between the two sides forced referee Deniz Aytekin to cancel the match.

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Russia wants to be granted all three points from the abandoned match, but UEFA has opened an investigation against both nations’ fans for thrown objects. Just last week, UEFA president Michel Platini issued concerns over the uptick in hooliganism.

As for the “why”, here’s this from the Associated Press:

Political tensions have flared between Russia and the small Balkan nation of Montenegro in recent months after Montenegro, a traditional ally of the Kremlin, decided to join U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Friday’s incident was not the first case of severe crowd trouble during a Euro 2016 qualifier. Last year, a match between Serbia and Albania was abandoned after a drone carrying a political banner was flown into the stadium.

A Serbia player pulled the banner down and Albanian players tried to protect it. In the resulting disorder, Serbian fans attacked Albania players.

UEFA punished both teams over the incident, awarding a 3-0 win to Serbia but also docking it three points.

Akinfeev has healed up, and is expected to play for CSKA Moscow in its match against Zenit Saint Petersburg this weekend.