Drone-disrupted soccer match awarded to Serbia by UEFA
Serbia wins over Albania, but 3 points are deducted and team must play 2 games in closed stadium
UEFA awarded Serbia a 3-0 win over Albania on Friday but deducted the three points following the violence that broke out during their European Championship qualifier in Belgrade last week.
The game was abandoned before halftime after an Albanian nationalist banner was flown into the stadium by a drone, triggering fighting among players and fans.
UEFA's disciplinary body ruled that the game be awarded to Serbia as a 3-0 forfeit but also deducted the three points gained by a win.
Serbia was also ordered to play its next two home matches in a closed stadium without fans. Serbia's next home qualifier is against Denmark on Nov. 14.
The Serbian and Albanian federations were each fined 100,000 Swiss Francs ($105,000).
Albanian officials criticized the verdict and said they would appeal.
Albanian Football Federation President Armand Duka said they expected the game to be awarded to them as a victory.
"I am disillusioned because we were claiming a legal verdict from UEFA," Duka told private TV station Ora-News. "I do not understand what precedent this may set when a squad physically beats the opposing players on the pitch. I do not know if there is a greater scandal than this."
Albania coach Giovanni de Biaisi also was disappointed.
"They took away from us what we deserved on the pitch," he said. "What should happen now?"
Albanian federation lawyer Artan Hajdari said he would appeal.
The Serbian FA said it would meet in an emergency session later Friday.
The Albanian anthem was loudly jeered by Serbian fans and derogatory chants were heard throughout. Serbian supporters also threw flares and other objects at Albanian players.
The drone carried a banner showing a so-called map of "greater Albania" including Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. A Serbian player pulled the banner down, while Albanian players tried to protect it.
Fans hurled broken seats and other objects, and attacked Albanian players, who fled to the dressing room and refused to return.
Serbia and Albania have been at odds for decades, mainly over Kosovo, a former ethnic Albanian-dominated Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia has never accepted Kosovo's independence.