Russia awarded 3-0 win over Montenegro after halted Euro qualifier
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA has given Russia a 3-0 win over Montenegro by forfeit after crowd violence forced a European Championship qualifying match to be stopped and later abandoned.
Montenegro must play its next home qualifier in an empty stadium and its football federation will pay a 50,000 euros fine ($54,000), UEFA's disciplinary panel ruled on Wednesday.
The Russian federation was fined 25,000 euros ($27,000) for improper conduct by its supporters at the match played on March 27 in Podgorica. Both national federations accepted the ruling.
Still, UEFA did not activate sanctions deferred after several incidents of disorder by Russian fans at Euro 2012. Russia has been facing a three-match stadium closure order through the qualifying campaign.
Trouble started seconds after kickoff in Montenegro when Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was struck in the head by a flare thrown from the stands behind his goal.
Play resumed after a 30-minute delay, and Akinfeev was taken to a hospital for treatment to neck and burns injuries.
The game was called off at 0-0 after 67 minutes when Russian player Dmitry Kombarov was hit by an object thrown from the stands.
Russia protested to UEFA and claimed the governing body's match delegate should not have allowed play to continue after Akinfeev was struck.
With the three points awarded by UEFA, Russia remains in third place in Group G, though now trails second-placed Sweden by only one point. Leader Austria is four points clear.
Montenegro will serve its one-match stadium closure when it hosts Liechtenstein on Sept. 5.
UEFA deferred a second match sanction for a two-year probationary period.
"Taking everything into account, the decision of the Disciplinary Committee of UEFA is expected and the Football Association of Montenegro will not appeal", the association's secretary-general Momir Djurdjevac said.
Djurdjevac said that Montenegro "has a huge task to re-establish a good atmosphere in the stands."
Russian Football Union president Nikolai Tolstykh told the R-Sport agency he was "satisfied with the objective and fair decision" made by UEFA.
The two teams will meet again in Russia on Oct. 12 in the final round of group matches.
Political tensions have flared between Russia and the former Yugoslav republic in recent months. Montenegro is a traditional ally of the Kremlin, yet decided to join U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
Two Euro 2016 qualifiers have now been abandoned in Balkan countries and results decided by default.
Last year, Serbia vs. Albania was stopped 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 who refused to continue playing.
UEFA punished both teams over the incident, awarding a 3-0 win to Serbia but also docking it three points.
Those sanctions are being appealed by both federations at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.