Thousands petition UEFA against Skenderbeu’s disciplinary proceedings

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 22, 2018 09:40

Thousands petition UEFA against Skenderbeu’s disciplinary proceedings

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  • Petitioners say punishing Skenderbeu, a club named after Albania's national hero Skanderbeg whose 550th death anniversary this year, Albania is marking as the Pan-national Skanderbeg Year, would also be a severe blow to Skanderbeg's figure

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“Don’t kill our dream,” “We live football, We love Skenderbeu,” “Our city is not a threat, our city wants justice,” Skenderbeu, our dream” were some of the slogans fans carried during the march in Korça, the southeastern Albanian city known as the “the little Paris of Albania.” Photo: KF Skenderbeu

TIRANA, Feb. 22 – Thousands of fans packed Korça’s main boulevard this week in a peaceful march to protest and petition against UEFA disciplinary proceedings that could see Skenderbeu banned for up to ten years from European competition on match-fixing allegations.

“Don’t kill our dream,” “We live football, We love Skenderbeu,” “Our city is not a threat, our city wants justice,”   Skenderbeu, our dream” were some of the slogans fans carried during the march in Korça, the southeastern Albanian city known as the “the little Paris of Albania,” and where football has been one of the main city entertainment in the past decade following Skenderbeu’s domination of the national championship and its two historic appearances at the Europa League group stage.

In a petition to European football’s governing body, UEFA, Skenderbeu fans say punishing their club means punishing a whole city and a success story in Albanian football in the past few years.

“In the past eight years, Skenderbeu has been the city’s happiness. Football is more than a game for Korça, it’s believing. In Korça, everybody has believed and believes in fair play from this team which has won six national championships and appeared twice at the Europa League,” reads the petition.

“Skenderbeu was founded in 1909 but managed to join the European family only in 2015, making a dream come true for us,” the petition says referring to Skenderbeu’s debut Europa League group stage appearance, the first by an Albanian club.

Petitioners say punishing Skenderbeu, a club named after Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg whose 550th death anniversary this year, Albania is marking as the Pan-national Skanderbeg Year, would also be a severe blow to Skanderbeg’s figure.

“Help us progress in this European path! Don’t punish us!,” concludes the petition.

Albania’s most successful club of the past decade, Skenderbeu, risk facing a ten-year ban from European competition as part of an ongoing investigation into match-fixing allegations by European football’s governing body, UEFA.

The new probe comes after Skenderbeu were already handed a one-year ban from European competition for the 2016-2017 campaign on match-fixing allegations.

Skenderbeu have denied any match-fixing allegations, saying the probe into the club was initiated by “companies who want to justify the millions they get from UEFA” and the “anti-Skenderbeu clan in Albania,” implying Brussels-based Federbet gaming anti-corruption organization and opponents in the Albanian Superliga.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 22, 2018 09:40