Montenegro chief says fans give impression country is barbaric

Russia players surround goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev shortly after he was hit by a flare thrown by Montenegro fans.

STRINGER/Action Images / Reuters

The head of the Football Association of Montenegro (FSCG) has branded fans who forced the abandonment of Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Russia as "barbarians".

Visiting goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was struck by a lit flare thrown from the crowd within a minute of kick-off in Podgorica, causing the match to be suspended for around half an hour.

Play resumed but trouble then erupted between the players in the second half after Russia’s Roman Shirokov missed a penalty with the score at 0-0. With further objects coming from the stands, both teams left the field and German referee Deniz Aytekin called the game off after 67 minutes.

A statement from UEFA on Friday night said it would "wait to receive reports from the delegate and referee to open disciplinary proceedings".

In a statement published on the FSGC’s website, the association’s secretary general Momir Durdevac said: "The match from the first minute was on the verge of interruption.

"You saw how many people were involved in the organisation, how many times we asked the crowd to refrain from everything.

"But it seems that we do not deserve, neither the country nor the national team, a place in the big competition.

"They are here to disrupt, they are here to be barbarians. When we play against the great teams and great players, they are here to denounce these players, not to enjoy their skills.

"To interrupt the match, to throw something on the pitch, and then chant: "Montenegro, I love you" – it is such hypocrisy, it’s such primitivism that should not be seen anywhere.

"For me, the game should not have continued after the first minute."

Durdevac also questioned whether players will accept future international call-ups amid such an atmosphere.

"This is a human catastrophe," he said. "This is the final straw and someone has to say, ‘Enough!’.

"What can we do after this? We pay a fine, we say goodbye to a great competition. And then there is a new game, and again there are flares and again there are chants, everything that should not be.

"Sorry, but I had to say this because as players responding to the call for the national team, to do your job – of course it would scare them. Who is going to come to play for the national team under these conditions?

"They all have a big dream. A big dream for little Montenegro is to appear in the big competition – but in these conditions?"