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news 27 Feb 13

UEFA Warns Croatia, Serbia Over Football Violence

Ahead of next month's match between Croatia and Serbia, UEFA has demanded that both countries do more to tackle sports-related hooliganism.

BIRN
Belgrade

Michel Platini, President of the Union of European Football Associations, sent a letter to
Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic on Tuesday, saying the problem of violence at football matches must be addressed.

"UEFA... is concerned over the unacceptable level of violence and riots happening at football matches involving teams from Serbia," Platini said.

A similarly worded letter was also sent to Zoran Milanovic, the Croatian Prime Minister.

"UEFA is extremely concerned by all forms of violence at certain matches played by Croatian clubs in UEFA competitions," Platini was quoted as saying in the letter to Milanovic.

Platini has asked the two two prime ministers to attend an urgent meeting with European football's governing body officials over the issue.

The letters come ahead of next month's high-risk World Cup qualifier between the neighbouring countries, who fought a bloody war in the 1990s.

UEFA has fined the football associations of the two countries on several occasions for violence and racist behaviour by football fans.

Tickets for the March 22 game in Zagreb have already been sold out. The return match is to be played on September 6 in Belgrade.

Serbia has been the setting for several incidents of sports-related violence lately. On February 10, clashes between rival fans marred the national basketball cup final in the central town of Kragujevac.

Last October, violent scenes in the Serbia-England Euro 2013 qualifying match made world headines. Fans ran on to the pitch and scuffles broke out after England beat Serbia 1-0 in the town of Krusevac.

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