- Kosovo faces Romania in tense Euro 2024 qualifier in Bucharest
- The visitors left the field in the first half after anti-Kosovar chants
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Kosovo’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Romania was halted after Romanian fans were heard chanting “Kosovo is Serbia”.
This offensive gesture – which also included the display of banners in the stands by Romanian supporters with the same message – led the Kosovar players to leave the pitch before heading towards the locker room.
Only 19 minutes of the clash had been played, with the score 0-0 at the time of the suspension.
Kosovo and Serbia are at odds over the fact that the former is a territory predominantly populated by Albanians and was formerly a province of Serbia. It declared its independence in 2008.
However, Serbia has refused to recognize it and still considers it part of the country, although it has no formal control over it.
Kosovo’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Romania was interrupted after Romanian fans chanted “Kosovo is Serbia”, while unfurling banners saying the same thing.
These offensive moves led the Kosovar players to leave the field after just 19 minutes.
Romania is one of the countries that refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008.
Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by around 100 countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States. However, some countries like Russia and China remain on Serbia’s side, while Romania is another nation that does not recognize its independence.
The standoff has led to continued tensions and means the Balkan region remains unstable after bloody wars in the 1990s.
Tensions between the two nations have eased in recent months and have resulted in several high-profile figures commenting on these issues.
Among them, tennis star Novak Djokovic, who wrote a message on a camera lens at Roland Garros last May: “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia!” Stop the violence.’
The clash between Romania and Kosovo finally resumed after a 50-minute stoppage, but showed no signs of less spirit with six yellow cards in the first half, while Kosovo striker Vedat Muriqi was sent off .
The anti-Kosovar chants came from the Romanian ultras at the National Arena in Bucharest.
The clash was delayed for 50 minutes as organizers and officials tried to resolve the issues.
When the match resumed, the tension did not ease with six yellows and one red in the first half.
Before the match even started, Romanian ultras chanted “Serbia, Serbia” when the Kosovar anthem was played, leading stadium officials to play the anthem even louder to drown out the sounds as tensions rose. ethnic tensions intensified in Bucharest.
After some time, the stadium announcers then sent a message saying: “Efforts are underway to restart the match. Please stop chanting our neighbor’s name! Revisionism is not tolerated by UEFA. This is the final warning.
Riot police and security officials then attempted to engage in conversation with the ultras responsible for leading the chants, with match officials later meeting with UEFA delegates.
A final warning was issued by the stadium announcers, before inviting supporters not to “chant our neighbor’s name”. Don’t show the same banner.
The game was tied 0-0 at halftime.