Albania complains of UEFA double standards

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 17, 2015 10:09

uefaTIRANA, April 15 – The Albanian Football Federation has accused UEFA of double standards over its decision to award Serbia a forfeit victory in a European championship qualifier last year, after UEFA made an opposite ruling over another abandoned game in a similar setting.

Albania is currently awaiting for a final verdict at an international sports arbitration court in its effort to get three points after Serbian fans invaded the pitch and hit Albanian players before the game was abandoned.

Last week, UEFA gave a default win to Russia over a similar incident in its qualifier with Montenegro.

On Oct. 14, 2014, Serbia vs. Albania Euro 2016 qualifier was stopped before halftime when a drone carrying an Albanian nationalist banner hovered above the Belgrade field.

Players clashed and Serbian fans attacked Albania team members. UEFA ruled that Albania refused to play on and UEFA awarded Serbia a 3-0 win by default, but then deducted the three points because of team violence.

The Albanian federation, FSHF, contrasted UEFA's treatment with the decision to call off a qualifier between Montenegro and Serbia because of fans throwing objects at the Russian players and awarding the visiting team a 3-0 win.

It said UEFA "did not apply the same standard of judgment" in the two cases, adding that violence against its players in Belgrade was at a much higher level and there was a serious risk for their lives.

Both Albania and Serbia have appealed their sanctions and expect later this week, on April 17, to likely have the final verdict from the court.

Many Albanians were shocked by UEFA's initial ruling after both Albania and Serbia received sanctions from UEFA, as the European soccer body appeared set on punishing both Balkan rivals for the on-field violence.

There were no Albanian fans in the stadium as Serb fans hurled hate chants, hard objects and fireworks during the game in Belgrade, before its was abandoned after an Albanian banner being flown by a drone over the stadium led to a brawl and pitch invasion by the Serb fans.

UEFA ruled that Albania forfeited the match because its players refused to return to the pitch amid the disorder.

It is a charge Albanian coach Gianni De Biazi said this week does not stand.

“We were never asked if we wanted to go back,” he said in an interview with an Italian channel, adding some of his players were bleeding from being hit by Serb fans in the pitch.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 17, 2015 10:09