UEFA opened proceedings against Romania regarding Tuesday's football match between Romania and Kosovo. During this match, Romanian right-wing fans held a flag saying "Kosovo is Serbia". Five charges were raised, among them for racist behaviour.
On Thursday UEFA published the announcement that it has opened proceedings against the Romanian Football Federation regarding the football match between Romania and Kosovo, which took place in Romania on Tuesday as part of the European qualifiers.
UEFA has raised 5 charges against the Romanian Football Federation , including for: racist behaviour, provocative messages of an offensive nature, blocking of public passageways, lighting of fireworks and throwing of objects.
The ultras displayed two banners on which the messages “Kosovo is Serbia” and “Bessarabia [Moldova] is Romania” were written, suggesting the former Serbian province of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, belongs to Serbia and that Moldova belongs to Romania.
Moldova was part of Romania in the interwar period, was annexed after World War II by the Soviet Union and is now an independent state. Romania is one of the countries that has not recognized the independence of Kosovo, yet.
In the 18th minute of Tuesday’s match, the ultras threw firecrackers and lighted torches behind Kosovar goalkeeper Arijanet Muric, after which the French referee, Willy Delajod, decided to halt the game, BIRN reported.
As a result, this match was interrupted for about 45 minutes. The final result was 2:0 for Romania, but critics assume that because of the incident, Romania may lose 3 points on the table.
Sports journalist Arlind Sadiku shared a video on Facebook showing the Romanian fans spreading hate speech.
Sadiku wrote that the leader of the Romanian fans, Andrei Preda, said that the message that was used by these fans was checked and allowed by the Romanian gendarmerie.
“Strong evidence showing the involvement of the state in yesterday’s event. The leader of the fans, Andrei Preda, says that the message was checked and allowed by the gendarmerie! This evidence changes the circumstances, and can help us a lot, to win the match”, Sadiku wrote on Facebook.
The Romanian Football Federation, FRF, on Wednesday condemned far-right fans who chanted political slogans at Tuesday night’s match, and at the same time congratulated the other approximately 30,000 fans who booed the few hundred “ultras” and applauded the Romanian team.
“Revisionism is not accepted in football, and the FRF firmly condemns provocative messages of a political, ideological, religious or insulting nature, which are categorically prohibited in stadiums,” stated the FRF.
Most of the 30,000 people in the stands in Bucharest condemned the behaviour of the ultras, shouting at them: “Out, out!”. Commentators of the match also criticised the attitude of the ultras, stating that they had harmed the national team.
Immediately after the interruption of the match, the captain of the Romanian team, Nicolae Stanciu, went to the gallery of the ultras and asked them to stop their chants because the referee could cancel the match altogether. “Nicule, we shouldn’t have played this match!” they told Stanciu, according to Antena 3, the TV station that broadcasted the match.
After the match, Romania’s National Council for Combating Discrimination, CNCD, said political chants have no place at a football game.
“These geopolitical messages have no business in sports… Playing without spectators means a massive financial loss… Sport is sport, and politics should manifest itself outside the stadiums, in the television studio,” said its president, Csaba Asztalos.
The Romanian team now risks playing a home match without spectators following a UEFA decision that will analyze the case. The team was fined 15,000 euros after xenophobic chants were heard in a previous game against Belarus, made by the same ultras.
15 September 2023 - 10:41
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