Serbia threatens to leave Euro if Croatia and Albania are not punished for chants

The animosity of Croatian and Albanian fans towards Serbs, and vice versa, dates back to the 1990s wars in the Balkans.

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Serbian sports officials threatened to quit the European Football Championship, saying they were offended by fan chants regarding “the murder of the Serbs” which were allegedly heard during the Albania-Croatia match.

Wednesday’s match ended 2-2 in Hamburg.

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Serbia are in Group C and began the tournament with a 1-0 defeat to England on Sunday. The Serbian selection plays its second group match against Slovenia on Thursday afternoon in Munich.

“What happened is scandalous and we will demand sanctions from UEFA, even at the cost of stopping the competition“, said Jovan Surbatovic, general secretary of the Serbian Football Federation.

“We will ask UEFA to punish the federations of the two teams. We do not want to be part of this, but if UEFA does not punish them, we will think about how to proceed.”

Surbatovic said he was “sure they will be punished” following UEFA’s decision on Wednesday to cancel the accreditations of Kosovar journalist Arlind Sadiku.

Sadiku made a two-handed nationalist eagle gesture towards Serbian fans during the match against England. The gesture imitates the eagle on the Albanian national flag, which may inflame tensions between Serbian nationalists and ethnic Albanians, who make up the vast majority of Kosovo’s population.

In a separate statement, the Serbian FA condemned the “shameful racist behavior” of Albanian and Croatian fans and said the match should have been suspended as soon as the chants started.

“It has been a long time since we have seen such insults against a nation, with chants calling for killing it, during sporting events,” the statement added.

UEFA has not yet reacted.

This is not from yesterday

The animosity of Croatian and Albanian fans towards Serbs, and vice versa, dates back to the 1990s wars in the Balkans.

Serbian fans are known for their chants against Croats and Albanians, also for their racist cries and support for convicted war criminalsresponsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people during the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

UEFA fined the Albanian and Serbian federations 10,000 euros each following their first group matches for having deployed banners with nationalist cards.

Each federation is responsible for the behavior of its supporters, and UEFA has accused Serbia and Albania of “transmitting provocative messages which are not suitable for a sporting event”.

Albanian supporters unfurled a banner with a map of their country extending its borders into the territory of neighboring countries. This banner was shown on Saturday during the 2-1 defeat against Italy in Dortmund.

In the 1-0 defeat against England in Gelsenkirchen, a banner of Serbian supporters included the territory of Kosovoa former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, and a slogan, “No Surrender.”

UEFA has also launched an investigation into allegations of monkey chants aimed at England players during the match.

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