UEFA rejects Serbia and Albania appeals

UEFA has rejected the appeals of Serbia and Albania against their punishments following their abandoned match in October.

The Euro 2016 Group I qualifier in Belgrade, which marked the first time the two sides had met in the Serbian capital since 1967, was brought to a halt shortly before half-time when a drone carrying a flag featuring Albanian national symbols hovered over the pitch.

Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic attempted to pull the flag down, sparking scuffles between the two sides and leading to supporters invading the field as the situation worsened.

Referee Martin Atkinson subsequently abandoned the contest, with UEFA then opting to award Serbia 3-0 walkover win but also docking them three points.

Both teams were handed €100,000 fines by European football's governing body, while Serbia were ordered to play their next two home qualifying games behind closed doors.

The ruling was appealed by the Football Association of Serbia and the Football Association of Albania but, following a meeting of UEFA's appeals body, the sanctions against both member nations have were confirmed on Tuesday. 

A UEFA statement read: "The UEFA Appeals Body met today, following appeals lodged by the Football Association of Albania (FShF) and the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) against the decisions taken by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) on 23 October in relation to various incidents that occurred during the UEFA European Championship qualifying Group I match between Serbia and Albania, which was played in Belgrade on 14 October.

"The appeal of the FShF has been rejected. The original decision of the CEDB is therefore upheld. The UEFA Appeals Body has decided to confirm the above-mentioned match as forfeited. As a consequence, the FShF is deemed to have lost the match 3-0. In addition, the FShF has been fined €100,000.

"The appeal of the FSS has also been rejected. Consequently, the original decision of the CEDB is upheld. The UEFA Appeals Body has decided to confirm the deduction of three points from the FSS for the current UEFA European Championship qualifying competition.

"In addition, the FSS has been ordered to play its next two UEFA competition matches as host team behind closed doors. Finally, the association has been fined €100,000."