UEFA awards Italy 3-0 win over Serbia for violence
Italy was awarded a 3-0 win over Serbia on Friday because rioting fans forced their European Championship qualifier to be abandoned on Oct. 7.
Serbia also was ordered to lock its fans out of one home qualifier in the ruling by UEFA, the Italian soccer federation said. The penalty could be increased to two games if there is more crowd trouble during the next two years.
Italy will be ordered to play a game in an empty stadium if trouble is repeated.
The Serbian federation was fined $166,000 and the Italian federation was docked $140,000. Also, Serbia’s fans will be barred from traveling to all of its away matches in this qualifying period.
"We are not satisfied with the penalties, especially the part which gave Italy the win," said Tomislav Karadzic, president of Serbia’s soccer federation.
He said the rest of the penalties were expected and that the federation will make a decision on whether to appeal when it receives the official verdict from UEFA.
The Italian federation was disciplined because its security operation failed to stop Serbian fans from entering the stadium in Genoa with an arsenal of fireworks and flares.
Italy now leads Group C qualifying with 10 points from four games. Serbia is fifth in the six-nation group with four points.
The ruling means Serbia will have to play in an empty stadium against Northern Ireland on March 25. Barring further crowd trouble, its fans will be allowed in when Serbia hosts Italy in Belgrade next October.
Both federations have three business days to appeal.
Italy appeared satisfied by the ruling.
"UEFA appreciated the solid work of our delegation, which was able to show that the Italian federation did the best it could under the dramatic circumstances of that evening," said Antonello Valentini, director general of Italy’s federation.
The Euro 2012 qualifier on Oct. 7 was stopped in the seventh minute when the score was 0-0. Violence continued into the night and at least 16 people, including two police officers, were injured.
Eight Serbian fans, including the alleged ringleader of the rioting, were arrested in Italy after the abandoned match. At least 19 others were arrested while traveling home.