Italy rule out Serbia replay

18 October 2010 03:00

A senior figure at the Italian Football Federation has dismissed Serbia's demands to replay the Euro 2012 qualifier abandoned due to crowd disorder last week.

Just six minutes were possible when the sides met at Genoa's Stadio Luigi Ferraris last Tuesday before the referee ordered the players off due to escalating violence in the section housing the Serbia supporters. Serbian Football Association president Tomislav Karadzic said on Friday that he will ask UEFA to have the game staged again but Italian Football Federation general director Antonello Valentini believes that would send the wrong message.

"To replay the match, even if it was played behind closed doors, would be the best present that one could give to the Serbian Federation," he told Radio Anch'io lo Sport.

"It has been one of the most sad experiences in all of my years in football. The decision to abandon the game was taken by the referee as he has the authority to do so.

"He believed the security of the players and of the game officials could not be guaranteed. I believe the behaviour of the security forces has limited the damage and the risks of a situation that could have exploded."

Valentini admitted there may have been security lapses which allowed the visiting fans to enter the ground armed with flares and fireworks.

"I believe that the arrival to the stadium may have been accelerated and it's possible that there was a slight gap in controls," Valentini said.

"These louts, a lot of whom were drunk, had already created damage in town."

UEFA have opened an investigation into events and their control and disciplinary body is set to hear the case on October 28.

"UEFA have asked the Serbian Federation for a report," Valentini said. "So far, they have not asked us for anything. We have sent them the (video) images."

Source: PA