By John McCarthy | Media editor

FIFA

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article

October 15, 2014 | 2 min read

A Euro 2016 qualifying fixture between Albania and Serbia in Belgrade was suspended after a drone carrying a political banner of the disputed ‘Greater Albania’ region caused fans to swarm the pitch.

Riot police filled Partizan stadium to protect the Serbian side after a player removed the flag from the drone, crashing it onto the pitch.

The Greater Albania flag, which claims the regions of Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, northern Greece and Albania, sparked high tensions during the match, despite Serbian fans not being granted any of the 2,000 match tickets they requested.

With the dropping costs of drones and the lack of regulation regarding their use, Fifa will have to tackle the incident effectively to discourage future stunts that could endanger fans and players.

Michel Platini, president of Uefa, which governs Euro 2016, said he was “deeply saddened” by the clash, he said: “Football is supposed to bring people together and our game should not be mixed with politics of any kind. The scenes in Belgrade last night were inexcusable.

Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, added: “Football should never be used for political messages. I strongly condemn what happened in Belgrade last night.”

As a result of the clash, Uefa confirmed it will investigate the incident, looking into disciplining both Albania and Serbia’s football federations.

Of course, with drones now being used to shoot movies in the US as a result of an FAA ruling, it may only be a matter of time until the machines become used in sports broadcasting.

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