Serbian FA to appeal against UEFA's decisions

BELGRADE -- The Football Association of Serbia (FSS) will appeal against UEFA's decision regarding the Serbia vs. Albania qualifier, saying it was "contradictory."

(Starsport, file)
(Starsport, file)

"The match was awarded 3-0 in favor of Serbia, and was followed by the deduction of points only from our team. At the same time, the guilt of the other side was proved, while we were deprived of three points, which represents 12.5 percent of the total number of points a team can win in our (qualifying) group," the FSS announced on Friday.

The national football organization will receive the complete explanation of UEFA's decisions in the next five days, after which it will lodge its appeal.

According to the FSS, the Disciplinary Commission of UEFA acted in an unprincipled manner, when compared to the decisions it made previously in the "Genoa case":

"Then, it was found that the organizer of the game (Italy) was not to blame for the incidents and all penalties imposed were against the other side (Serbia.) Now the game was registered 3-0 for Serbia, the guilt of the other side was defined and established, while all the other decisions are contrary to that, and are to the detriment of the FSS."

The FSS stressed that there had been precedents in UEFA's decision-making process ever since the national team of Yugoslavia was expelled from the European Championship in 1992, considering that neither decision was based solely on application of competition rules.

It is also stated that the FSS expected all UEFA's decisions to be fair and equally applicable "to every step of the competition."

"Namely, the question remains what would have happened if this game was played as part of the play-offs, would points have been deducted then, and from whom?"

The FSS statement added the organization was under the impression that "new modes are constantly being tried out" against it and the Serbian football - especially in terms of disciplinary-punitive measures.

"So far we within European qualifications we have not witnessed a match being registered by an ’official result’ in favor of a team, and points then taken from the same team," said the FSS.

The statement added that it asked for an emergency session of the Council for Prevention of Violence in Sport, in order to exchange information with government agencies and analyze the case to obtain new evidence related to the display of a banner with fascist-political connotations.

The remark concerns the cause of the interruption of the October 14 EURO 2016 qualifier - namely, a small remotely operated craft carried a map of "Greater Albania" over the pitch - depicting Albania expanded to include parts of four neighboring countries, including Serbia. This later led to incidents and finally the canceling of the match.

Serbian national football team coach Dick Advocaat also reacted on Friday to UEFA's decision by saying he "could not believe it":

"Honestly, I consider the decisions that have been made to be very strange. The Albanians fared very well - I don't understand why they received a money fine, what's the point of that. They did not want to resume playing the game under any circumstances, not that evening with or without the fans, not the next day... Unfortunately, I am under the impression that somebody does not want Serbia to participate in EURO 2016."

Advocaat was further quoted as saying on the FSS website that matches played between Serbia and Albania "must be viewed as was the case with Russia and Georgia, who could not play in the same group."

"To me, as the Serbia coach, the outcome of the decision-making process is simply incredible - only one side has been punished, and that is Serbia," he said, and added:

"I have faith in our team, we will do everything to meet our goal through victories and win a place on the highest European stage."

Meanwhile, the fans of the Albanian football team, dissatisfied with the UEFA decisions, have announced protests in Tirana and Priština.

They on Friday organized a campaign on social networks, using offensive terms to describe the top European football organization and its president, Michel Platini, and even reported the UEFA official page on Facebook for "racism."