The Euro 2016 qualifying match between Serbia and Albania was abandoned by the referee on Tuesday after a drone carrying an Albanian flag interrupted the game, which later led to a mass brawl on the pitch and Albanian players being hit by projectiles from the crowd.
The insane scenes happened after the drone hovered over the stadium, carrying an Albanian flag. Eventually the flag was pulled down to the ground by Serbia’s Stefan Mitrović, which initiated a brawl between players. That then led to Albanian players being hit by projectiles from the Serbian crowd, as well as one Albanian footballer being hit by a chair (see above).
Not surprisingly, English referee Martin Atkinson decided to abandon the game after the 41st minute.
The rivalry between Serbia and Albania is an intense political affair that is fueled by ethnic tensions. For this match, Albanian fans were banned from attending, but that didn’t stop the banned fans from using a drone to fly their flag over the stadium. To make matters worse, the flag also showed Kosovo, which is a topic of much dispute because there are communities of ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians who live in the country, and there’s a large amount of tension between both groups. To add more confusion, not every country considers Kosovo an independent state.
So when Mitrović pulled the flag down from the drone, you can imagine the anger that created among the Albanian footballers.
The photo below is reportedly the flag that was flown by the drone over the field:
In further developments, Serbian media are reporting that the brother of Albania’s prime minister was arrested on suspicion of planning the drone maneuver.
According to Blic,
“Orfi Rama, brother of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, was arrested this evening in the VIP lounge of the Partizan stadium under reasonable suspicion that he organized and managed the incident with the flag of a Greater Albania which was abandoned after a football match teams of Serbia and Albania.”
Lastly, here’s the reaction from the Serbian fans when the Albanian national anthem was played before the match kicked off:
Mobile app users, watch the video here.
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