Albania prez brother arrested over European qualifier clash

Belgrade: The brother of Albania’s Prime Minister was arrested in Belgrade, accused of starting the trouble that caused the abandonment of the Euro 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albania, Serbian state television RTS reported.

RTS cited the Serbian Interior Ministry saying that Olsi Rama, from his seat in an executive box in the stadium, controlled a drone carrying a ‘Greater Albanian’ flag which flew over the pitch triggering clashes between the two teams as some of the 20,000 home fans tried to assault Albanian players.

The incident, in the 41st minute of the Group I encounter at which Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic was also in attendance, led to its abandonment with the score goalless.

Serbian fans hurled smoke bombs and other missiles onto the pitch in protest in a game from which Albanian fans had been barred by the Serbian Football Federation on Sunday.

The incident comes just days before the highly sensitive visit of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama next Wednesday, the first such visit in 68 years.

Rama’s visit to Serbia became possible after the normalisation of bilateral relations was sealed in April 2013 in an agreement brokered by the European Union.

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