Albania-Serbia match abandoned due to pitch disturbance

14 October 2014 22:30

The Euro 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albania was abandoned due to a pitch disturbance at Stadion Partizana on Tuesday.

The clash between the two Balkan nations marked Albania’s first visit to Belgrade since 1967.

However, referee Martin Atkinson was forced to bring proceedings to a halt four minutes before half-time, with the score at 0-0, when a drone flew over the pitch, carrying a banner that appeared to feature the Albanian flag and a slogan.

Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic jumped to bring the banner down, sparking scuffles between players from both sides, while a number of supporters also entered the field of play as an unsavoury melee escalated.

Riot police subsequently surrounded the pitch after the players had been taken from the field and the match was then called off.

The Group I contest was set against a backdrop of political tensions between the two countries.

Serbia refused to allow Albanian fans to attend the match, with the Albanian Football Association’s (FSHF) request for 2,000 tickets met with an insistence that tickets should be sold to Albanian passport holders only.

That condition, which was rejected by the FSHF, would have excluded the residents of Kosovo, which is heavily populated by Albanians but not recognised as a sovereign state by Serbia despite its declaration of independence in 2008.