The soccer federations for Serbia and Albania have filed appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding an October match that was abandoned due to a drone flying over the field.
The match, which was a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier, was stopped in the first half after a drone displaying an Albanian flag hovered over the field, sparking a fight between players and causing fans to throw objects at players on the pitch. Each country sought to blame the other following the incident.
The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body penalized each federation, docking Serbia three points in Euro 2016 qualifying and giving Albania a 3-0 loss in the abandoned match. Serbia was also directed to play its next two home matches without fans in the stands, and both federations were fined €100,000.
Each federation filed separate appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport contesting UEFA's sanctions. CAS announced the appeals on Thursday.
The two countries share a troubled history in the Balkan region, which has been home to many racial and ethnic conflicts. In recent times, contentiousness has centered on Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008 and was at the center of armed conflict in the 1990s.
An Albanian majority exists in Kosovo, and Serbia and many Serbians within Kosovo refuse to officially recognize the country as an independent state.
The match was the countries' first meeting since Serbia became an independent country and Albania's first trip to Serbia since 1967.
- Stanley Kay