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news 29 Mar 15

Violent Football Fans Wreck Montenegro-Russia Qualifier

UEFA Sanctions on Montenegro expected after thuggish fans wreak havoc at Euro 2016 match with Russia.

UEFA is expected to start disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro after Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier with Russia was abandoned amid battles on the pitch.

The Group G game in Podgorica was hit by trouble from the start after Russia’s goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev, was struck on the head by a flare thrown from the stands and had to be taken to hospital.

German referee Deniz Aytekin later abandoned the match after a missed penalty by Russia’s Roman Shirokov led to a brawl on the pitch while riot police struggled to contain missile-throwing fans.

Momir Djurdjevac, general secretary of the Montenegrin FA, said he expected harsh punishment from UEFA. Fan violence was undermining Montenegro's efforts to qualify for a major tournament, he remarked.

“These fans sing ‘Montenegro we love you’ but throw flares, insult rivals and cause all sorts of incidents every time they turn up and that’s outright hypocrisy,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

“We have left the impression of barbarians and this is a complete disaster. It seems we don’t deserve to have a nation, a football team or a berth in a major tournament,” he added.
“We will in all likelihood pay a hefty fine and say goodbye to a major tournament but what scares me is that this can happen again,” he concluded.

The scenes of chaos in Podgorica recalled last October’s equally disastrous qualifier in Belgrade between Serbia and Albania, which was also abandoned, after a drone bearing a map of Greater Albania buzzed the pitch, sparking a brawl between players.

Russia is already demanding that it be awarded victory for last Friday’s game, in which the score was 0-0 when the match was called off.

Fan violence has plagued football in the Balkans for years. In 2009, it claimed the life of French fan Brice Taton, killed on the streets of Belgrade by fans of Partizan Belgrade.

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