Red Star banned from playing match in Kosovo

              Serbian police officers guard a bus with Red Star players at the border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo, near the village of Rudnica, Serbia, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Kosovo authorities have banned a soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and a local Serb team and prevented their bus from crossing into the former Serbian province. (AP Photo/Bojan Slavkovic)

JARINJE, Kosovo (AP) — Authorities in Kosovo banned Red Star Belgrade from playing a soccer match against a local Serb team on Wednesday and prevented the club’s bus from crossing into the former Serbian province.

Tensions were high on a border crossing as police faced off with Red Star fans and Kosovo Serb politicians waiting for the bus to arrive. The Serbian FA Cup game against Trepca was scheduled to be played later Wednesday in a village in northern Kosovo.

The Red Star delegation was informed by Kosovo police that the match will not be played and the bus was turned back to Serbia.

Ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Kosovo authorities have said the planned match represents a Serbian political provocation.

Serbian officials asked UEFA and FIFA to ban Kosovo from their soccer associations.

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said Red Star is “one of the Serbian symbols and that’s why it is not welcome among the enemies of Serbia.”

The president of Kosovo’s football association, Adem Ademi, said the match was stopped because “one country cannot organize official competitions in another country” without their consent.