Romania-Kosovo European Qualifier Suspended
The European Championship qualifying game between Romania and Kosovo on Tuesday, 12 September, was suspended for nearly an hour due to provocative political chants and banners.
Romanian fans dominated the atmosphere at the National Arena Stadium in Bucharest, Romania in what was supposed to be a civil match between the two countries. However, the game was halted at the 18-minute mark, when the home side’s fans began chanting “Serbia, Serbia” and holding up a banner with the words “Kosovo is Serbia”.
Romania is one of the few countries that do not recognise Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008.
Neither side had made a mark on the scoreboard when French referee, Willy Delajod, chose to take the players off the field to address the fans’ discriminatory behaviour. During the interruption, riot police were seen attempting to reason with the crowds in order to prevent their behaviour from escalating.
The match resumed between 45 and 50 minutes later, after a meeting was held with representatives from both sides. Despite the interruption, the home side were able to walk away with a 2-0 win over their visitors.
UEFA is expected to open a disciplinary case against Romania, as making a political statement during a match is prohibited by their regulations.
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