[Ed. – Europe in 2014 is a powder keg. Just to clarify, the message of the “Greater Albania” flag is both a poke in Serbia’s eye over Kosovo and an Islamist-supremacist gesture. Albania was long a cooperative Islamicized outpost of the Ottoman Empire, in the centuries when Serbia was the seat of European Christian resistance to it.]
It was always set to be an emotive clash, but Serbia’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Albania in Belgrade descended into chaos after a light aircraft dropped an Greater Albanian flag on to the pitch, leading the match to be abandoned.
Play stopped as a drone flies right above the pitch, dangling an Albanian flag right above it! This is incredible. Crowd going mad.
— Nick Ames (@NickAmes82) October 14, 2014
Late in the first half, the aircraft – which appeared to be remote-controlled – provocatively dangled the flag over the pitch, with the offending item hitting the turf soon afterwards.
Players were pelted by objects from fans and the match was halted by English referee Martin Atkinson. Hilariously, stadium staff then pumped out hits by American singer Cher in order to calm fans.
The match eventually restarted, but was called off in the second half after flares landed on the pitch with the score at 0-0. …
The Greater Albanian flag – as opposed to the current flag of the nation – represents the wider concept of a supra-national state that covers all the areas where ethnic Albanians live.
The flag stunt was particularly naughty given the historic relationship between these two countries, and Serbia supporters’ reputation for nationalism and violence. …
[R]eports emerged late in the evening claiming that the brother of the Albanian Prime Minister was involved in the stunt. Olsi Rama was alleged to have been arrested in the VIP box after the match.