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Italy vs Serbia Euro Qualifier called off due to crowd trouble – SportsUntapped.com
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Added October 13th, 2010 by Ian

Italy vs Serbia Euro Qualifier called off due to crowd trouble
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In what is becoming an all-too common occurrence with Serbian football fans, crowd trouble flared up at the Euro 2012 qualifying game between Italy and Serbia in Genoa, and the referee abandoned the match on Oct. 12. Serbian hooligans continued to light fireworks and throw flares on the pitch, leaving the referee with little choice.

The kick-off to the match had to be held back for 45 minutes as Italian police tried to keep order at the Marassi stadium. The game finally got underway, but more fireworks and flares came raining down on the pitch and the Group C game was called off after just seven minutes as the referee said he feared for safety.

Serbian supporters had clashed with police earlier in the day and could now lose the game by default by a 3-0 score. It will all depend on UEFA, but will look good on the Serbs if they are handed a loss as their fans are gaining a reputation around the world for being complete jerk offs.

Hooligans threw fireworks and flares at Italian fans and on the field. Three of them also climbed a security screen. When the players made it to the pitch, firemen, stewards and police had to patrol the away-fans section. When the kickoff was delayed the players headed back to their change rooms. Riot police then stationed between the two sets of supporters.

When the players came back to start the game some members of the Serbian squad ventured over to their fans and pleaded with them to behave. It worked for a little while as the anthems were played and referee Craig Thomson was finally able to start the game.

However, trouble flared up again soon after and Thomson stopped the contest when a flare landed close to Italian goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano. The keeper said it would have been impossible to play the game as he would have to be ducking the missiles all night long.

Officials from the two nations held a brief meeting with UEFA delegates and the Serbians headed back to the change room. The Italians followed and most of the fans then left the stadium. Before the match, Italy led the group with seven points from three games and Serbia had four points from three matches.

While Serbia deserves to lose by default, the Italians should also be punished for allowing fans into the stadium with flares and fireworks. It’s ridiculous in this day and age that a game should be called off due to items taken into the arena.

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