Albania plans tough security for Euro 2016 qualifier with Serbia

Serbia's Stefan Mitrovic grabs a flag with Albanian national symbols flown by a remotely operated drone during the Euro 2016 Group I Qualifier between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade on October 14, 2014.


TIRANA, Albania —

Albanian authorities are taking tough security measures for Thursday’s European Championship qualifier against Serbia, fearing a repeat of nationalist violence that marred the first leg.

Police spokeswoman Hafize Peqini says about 1,500 police will be in and around the stadium in Elbasan, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Tirana.

Traffic will be banned near the venue, bars in the city center will be closed and fans will have to show identification and undergo searches before they are admitted.

Last year’s game in Belgrade was abandoned after a drone with an Albanian nationalist flag flew over the field, prompting a brawl among players and a pitch invasion. Albania was awarded the match by forfeit 3-0.

Albania is third in Group I with 11 points from six matches.