UEFA opens disciplinary case over Montenegro-Russia violence
MOSCOW (AP) — UEFA said Monday it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro and Russia after a European championship qualifier between the teams was abandoned Friday due to crowd violence.
The game was called off at 0-0 on 67 minutes after Russian player Dmitry Kombarov was hit by an object thrown from the stands and spectators from both sides clashed.
Earlier, the game had been suspended for 30 minutes when a flare hit Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev in the head, leaving him in need of hospital treatment.
UEFA said in a statement it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro over the abandonment and against both countries for the throwing of fireworks and other objects by their fans.
Russia has filed a protest demanding it be awarded a win because of the attacks on its players.
“I believe that UEFA objectively, fairly and in the spirit of the relevant regulation documents, will examine (the protest) and will issue an objective, fair decision,” Russian Football Union head Nikolai Tolstykh told Russian state TV on Tuesday.
“In our view, a 3-0 defeat for the host country is fitting for this situation, a technical defeat. It would be a fair decision in this case.”
Akinfeev was discharged from hospital and returned to Russia with the rest of the Russian team. He is due to return to training for his club, CSKA Moscow, on Tuesday and could play as soon as Sunday, a coach with CSKA told Russian media Monday. Kombarov was not seriously hurt.
Political tensions have flared between Russia and the small Balkan nation of Montenegro in recent months after Montenegro, a traditional ally of the Kremlin, decided to join U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
Friday’s incident was not the first case of severe crowd trouble during a Euro 2016 qualifier. Last year, a match between Serbia and Albania was abandoned after a drone carrying a political banner was flown into the stadium.
A Serbia player pulled the banner down and Albanian players tried to protect it. In the resulting disorder, Serbian fans attacked Albania players.
UEFA punished both teams over the incident, awarding a 3-0 win to Serbia but also docking it three points.