Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pandemonium in Genoa

It was supposed to be an intriguing and hotly contested match between Italy v Serbia. Instead, the dark side of football reared its ugly head in a manner we have not seen in some time. After a delayed start and another stoppage, the ref deemed the match unsafe for the players (some players made that decision themselves) and called it off.

The violence began before the match outside the stadium as Serbian Ultras attacked their own team bus prompting goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic to withdraw as he was reportedly hit with a firework. Clashes with police ensued until they were able to enter the stadium.

Once inside, the antics continued. Fireworks, flares, and missiles pelted the field. A "Kosovo is Serbia" flag was unfurled which gave a hint to which group of supporters are suspected (this isn't the place for a history lesson but you're a quick google search away from one of the worst genocides since WWII). Then there's the masked ringleader - the tattoed idiot who sat atop the partition throughout the ordeal cutting the security netting and egging on the Ultras. He has since been arrested and identified as Ivan Bogdanov - a leader of one of Red Star Belgrade's supporter groups.

Serbia's players tried to calm the traveling supporters but to no avail. They set out with a purpose to sabotage this match and nothing would stop them.

The implications of this will be severe as UEFA weigh up their options - forfeiting the match (which is obvious) and possibly tossing Serbia from the qualification. A harsh proposition but fair nonetheless. Much more to follow but for now, here's a video and plenty more photos after the jump:

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