COMPLETE chaos erupted during the Euro 2016 qualifying clash between Serbia and Albania at the FK Partizan Stadium in Belgrade, with riot police struggling to control both fans and players during ugly scenes.
Tensions run high between the two sides as a result of Kosovo – which has a majority Albanian population – declaring independence in 2008, and violence erupted after a flag with a pro-Albanian slogan was dangled from a drone flying over the stadium.
It is rumoured that Orfi Rama, brother of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, controlled the drone from the VIP section of the stadium.
The appearance of the flag caused uproar and when Serbian player Aleksandar Mitrovic leaped up and tore the flag down he was confronted by Albanian players who snatched it from him. Fans and representatives stormed onto the pitch attacking the Albanian players and stewards who were desperately trying to keep things in order also ended up involved in the violence.
The Albanian players were subsequently advised to leave for their dressing room after being attacked by flares and objects from the crowd as riot police tried to contain the situation as best they could. English referee Martin Atkinson took the decision to call off the game following a suspension of play for 40 minutes. UEFA has issued an apology over the incident and will be in talks to decide what actions will be taken.