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Euro 2024: Serbia demands UEFA sanctions over hostile chants

June 20, 2024

UEFA have issued several sanctions over bad behavior in the first week of Euro 2024. Now the Serbian FA have demanded that UEFA punish their Croatian and Albanian counterparts for hateful chanting.

Albanian fans in the stands
Albanian fans and their Croatian counterparts are alleged to have shouted out hateful chants during Wednesday's matchImage: Nderim Kaceli/picture alliance/ipa-agency

Following Croatia's 2-2 with Albania on Wednesday, Jovan Surbatovic, general secretary of the Football Association of Serbia (FSS), said his organization had submitted a formal complaint to UEFA, claiming that the two sets of fans had chanted, "Kill, kill, kill the Serb" during the match.

He even indicated that the FSS would be prepared to withdraw from Euro 2024 if UEFA, which governs European football, fails to take what it sees as sufficient action.

"What happened is scandalous and we will ask UEFA for sanctions, even if it means not continuing the competition," he told Serbian state-owned broadcaster RTS. "If UEFA doesn't punish them, we will think about how to proceed."

The comments came Thursday, hours before Serbia's second match, against Slovenia, was set to kick off in Munich.

Earlier, UEFA charged the FSS after Serbian supporters displayed a "provocative" banner and reportedly threw objects inside the stadium.

That charge had come after the Kosovo Football Federation complained to UEFA about "Serbian fans displaying political, chauvinistic, and racist messages against Kosovo" during Serbia's 1-0 defeat by England. Kosovo did not qualify for Euro 2024.

Surbatovic described the offense as an "isolated case."

UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) fined the FSS €10,000 ($10,700) on Wednesday for "transmitting a provocative message not fit for a sports event" during the game against England.

Photos of the crowd at Sunday's match show a Serbian flag in an outline of a map of the country incorporating Kosovo and including the words "nema predaje" (no surrender). Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade does not recognize it as a separate state, still regarding the former province as part of its territory.

English and Serbian fans in the stands
The charges against the Serbian FA stemmed from actions of fans during their team's match against EnglandImage: Alexandra Fechete/imago images

The FSS was also fined €4,500 due to objects being thrown onto the pitch by fans.

Allegations of racist chants

UK media outlets have also reported that monkey noises were made in the direction of Black players during England's 1-0 win against Serbia. UEFA said it was investigating the alleged incident.

Meanwhile, UEFA has also fined the Albanian Football Federation a total of €27,375 for the lightning of fireworks, objects being thrown, and a pitch invasion following their team's 2-1 loss to Italy on Saturday.

Kosovo journalist barred from tournament

In a separate decision, UEFA have canceled the media credentials of Kosovar journalist Arlind Sadiku for the tournament. The FSS had asked for his removal for seeking to provoke Serbian fans by making a double-headed eagle gesture with his hands.

The gesture symbolizes the two-headed eagle on Albania's national flag, which can stir up nationalist tensions between Serbians and ethnic Albanians, who make up the vast majority of Kosovo's population.

"UEFA can confirm that one journalist has had his accreditation cancelled due to misconduct at the UEFA EURO 2024 match between Serbia and England on 16 June 2024," the organization said in a statement.

pfd/mp (Reuters, dpa)