Tirana, October 22, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
In a press statement issued today, Albanian Football Federation (AFF) has revealed the steps that it has taken in order to submit the necessary documents to the UEFA Committee of Control of Ethic and Discipline, which will gather tomorrow in Switzerland.
Upon receiving notification over the accusations raised against Albania, AFF, with the assistance of its law firm, Haxhia & Hajdari, has started to gather the necessary evidence to defend itself. The drafting of legal arguments and legal counseling has been entrusted to two law firms which have an expertise in the domain of sport law: Littleton Chambers based in London and Levy Kaufmann-Kohler, based in Geneva. AFF also wants to thank all those professionals who have offered their help and have been available in representing the case.
“Special thanks to all sport lovers who have helped in gathering video and photo materials. The defense material, which is summarized below, has been gathered as soon as possible and has been submitted to UEFA on Tuesday, 21.10.2014”, says AFF’s statement.
The material says that during the match between Serbia and Albania on 14.10.2014, Albanian football players have been victim of physical and verbal violence, accompanied with racist messages. In relation to the racist messages, a special request has been sent to UEFA on Monday for their inclusion in the open procedure. All of these violations have been proved through film footage and medical reports which have been submitted to UEFA. Albanian players have not refused to play, but the continuation of the game has been impossible as a direct result of physical and psychological damages sustained as a result of the uncontrollable attacks of Serb fans, security personnel and in several isolated cases, by Serb football players themselves.
Some of the serious violations that have been identified and which appear in the report of the UEFA Security Delegate are:
- Lack of the necessary safety of the field,
- The bad behavior of the fans,
- Poor management of the stadium and
- The fact that police “could not protect players and referees”.
- As a result of the above mentioned, it clearly results that the equal conditions for the continuation of the football match were not guaranteed. Based on articles 21(1), 6(1)g) and 21 (4) a) of the Disciplinary regulation, not only the accusation addressed to AFF must be withdrawn, but AFF has also demanded a 3-0 result on the table.
As far as the accusation relating to the illegal banner flying over the field is concerned, it must be withdrawn for the following reasons:
- The stadium didn’t have Albanian fans, besides football players and the delegation;
- Both football players and delegation were checked by police after the match and no object was found that could have piloted the helicopter;
- The banner has emerged from the southern area, behind the goal, an area which was filled with Serb fans, who have not been controlled by police, given that they could introduce in the stadium political flags, strong objects and a barrel.
- For all of these reasons, the author of the incident was impossible to be identified and the fact that the latter is Albanian (the territory of the map on the banner is wider than the territory of the Republic of Albania).
In conclusion, AFF informs that the decision taken by UEFA may be appealed at the Court of Sport Arbitrage. /ibna/