CAS to hear appeals from Albania, Serbia over drone incident
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Albania and Serbia are challenging the UEFA sanctions imposed upon them after a European Championship qualifying match was abandoned when a drone with a political banner flew into the stadium.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Thursday it registered the appeals, though no date has been set for the hearing.
”Albania and Serbia seek to annul the UEFA decisions or … reduce the sanctions that were imposed,” the court said in a statement.
UEFA ordered Albania to forfeit the match because team officials refused to send players back out to play in a hostile atmosphere in Belgrade.
Serbia was deducted three points despite the 3-0 default win. UEFA also ordered Serbia’s next two Euro 2016 home qualifiers to be played in an empty stadium.
UEFA also fined both federations 100,000 euros ($118,000).
The Oct. 14 match was stopped before halftime when a drone carrying an Albanian nationalist banner hovered above the field. Players clashed over the banner and Serbian fans attacked Albania team members.
Tensions between the countries were fueled by Kosovo, an ethnic Albanian-dominated province, declaring independence from Serbia in 2008.
The Balkan countries are scheduled for a return match in Albania on Oct. 8.
Serbia already served one match of its empty-stadium sanction. It lost to Denmark 3-1 in November and next hosts Armenia on Sept. 4.
In the five-team group, Denmark and Portugal are currently in the two automatic qualifying places for Euro 2016 in France.
Albania is in third place, which guarantees at least a spot in the playoffs. The Albanians have four points from three matches, three ahead of fourth-place Serbia.