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UEFA set to charge Serbia and Albania after flag brawl

UEFA set to charge Serbia and Albania after flag brawl
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UEFA looks sets to charge both the Serbian and Albanian football associations after the Euro qualifier between the two countries was abandoned when a mass brawl broke out on the pitch.

An already febrile atmosphere boiled over when a drone dragging a flag of so-called ‘Greater Albania’ hovered over the pitch.

Serbia’s Stephan Mitrovic grabbed the banner and fighting ensued.

Serbia and Albania have a history of aggression most recently in relation to the former Serbian province of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.

Branislav Ivanovic, the captain of Serbia, said: “What happened is something we can’t comprehend at the moment. On behalf of my team, all I can say is that we wanted to carry on and that we shielded the Albanian players every step of the way to the tunnel after the riot broke out.”

As the violence increased referee Martin Atkinson led the players from the pitch and abandoned the match.

Captain of Albania Lorik Cana explained why the game could no longer continue: “Unanimously, we decided that because of the situation and the physical condition of some of the players who had been hurt, some had facial injuries, and also our mental state and the poor security, we decided that the game could not continue.”

Fearing violence, Albanian fans were warned not to attend, but dozens from Kosovo and Montenegro managed to get inside.

Serbian police said anyone found carrying an Albanian symbol would be arrested.