Serbia FA threatens to quit Euros if UEFA does not punish Croats and Albanians over chants

serbia fa threatens to quit euros if uefa does not punish croats and albanians over chants

Serbia's fans chant ahead of a Group C match between Serbia and England at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Sunday, June 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia soccer officials threatened to quit the European Championship after they were offended by fan chants reportedly heard during the Albania-Croatia match.

The game on Wednesday ended 2-2 in Hamburg.

Serbia started its second group match against Slovenia on Thursday afternoon in Munich.

"What happened is scandalous and we will ask UEFA for sanctions, even at the cost of not continuing the competition,” Serbia Football Association general secretary Jovan Surbatovic said.

"We will request UEFA to punish the federations of both teams. We don’t want to participate in that, but if UEFA doesn’t punish them, we will think about how to proceed.”

serbia fa threatens to quit euros if uefa does not punish croats and albanians over chants

Croatian supporters light a flare as they cheer during a Group B match between Croatia and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Hamburg, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

In a separate statement on Thursday, the Serbia FA condemned the “shameful racist behavior” of the Albanian and Croatian fans and said the match should have been suspended as soon as the chants started.

“Such insulting of a nation with cries that they should be killed has not been seen at sports events for a long time,” the statement added.

UEFA was yet to react.

The animosity between Croatian and Albanian fans toward the Serbs, and vice versa, dates to the 1990s wars in the Balkans.

Serbian fans are notorious for their chants against the Croats and Albanians as well as racist shouts and vocal support of convicted war criminals responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands during the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

serbia fa threatens to quit euros if uefa does not punish croats and albanians over chants

Croatian supporters light a flare as they cheer during a Group B match between Croatia and Albania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Hamburg, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

UEFA fined the Albanian and Serbian federations 10,000 euros ($10,700) each after their first group matches for fans displaying banners with nationalist maps.

Each federation is responsible for the conduct of its fans, and UEFA charged Serbia and Albania with “transmitting provocative messages not fit for a sports event.”

Albania fans displayed a banner with a map of their country extending its borders into the territory of neighboring countries. It was shown on Saturday during the 2-1 loss against Italy in Dortmund.

A Serbia fans banner included the territory of Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, and a slogan, “No Surrender,” in the 1-0 loss against England in Gelsenkirchen.

UEFA has also launched an investigation into claims of monkey chants aimed at England players during the clash.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

The Associated Press

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