Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 April 2015

Northern Ireland's Serbia clash to take place behind closed doors

Serbia supporters riot during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Serbia supporters riot during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
A fireman removes a flare from the pitch thrown by Serbian fans during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Police in riot gear confront Serbia fans during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Serbia supporters riot during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Dragan Mrdja of Serbia and Leonardo Bonucci of Italy in action next to a flare thrown onto the pitch by Sebia fans during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifying match between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Serbia fans riot during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Emiliano Viviano of Italy avoids missiles thrown onto the pitch during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifying match between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Referee Craig A. Thomson is surrounded by Italy and Serbia players about suspending the match as Serbia fans riot during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Police in riot gear confront Serbia fans during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
A Serbia fan holds cutting pliers as he climbs onto a partition prior to the start of a Group C, Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match between Italy and Serbia, at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy
Police in riot gear confront Serbia fans during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Dragan Mrdja of Serbia and Leonardo Bonucci of Italy in action next to a flare thrown onto the pitch by Sebia fans during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifying match between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Police in riot gear confront Serbia fans during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Serbia fans riot during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Serbia fans riots during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Police in riot gear confront Serbia fans before the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Police in riot gear confront Serbia fans before the UEFA EURO 2010 Group C qualifying match between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Players of Italy leave the pitch after UEFA EURO 2010 Group C qualifying match between Italy and Serbia was suspended at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Players of Italy and Serbia leave the pitch after the UEFA EURO 2010 Group C qualifying match between Italy and Serbia was suspended at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano avoids flares thrown onto the pitch by Serbia supporters during the UEFA EURO 2010 Group C qualifying match between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Dragan Mrdja of Serbia (2nd to L) competes with Gianluca Zambrotta of Italy (2nd to R) next to a flare thrown onto the pitch by Serbia supporters during the UEFA EURO 2010 Group C qualifying match between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Italian police face Serbia fans prior to the start of a Group C, Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match between Italy and Serbia, at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy
Italian police face Serbia fans prior to the start of a Group C, Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match between Italy and Serbia, at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy
A Serbia fan climbs onto a partition, left, as a flare is thrown onto the pitch prior to the start of a Group C, Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match between Italy and Serbia, at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. The start of the Italy-Serbia European Championship qualifier has been delayed due to Serbia fans throwing flares onto the pitch and lighting fireworks
Serbia fans climb onto a partition to throw a flare prior to the start of a Group C, Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match between Italy and Serbia, at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy
Players of Italy cheers their fans during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group C qualifier between Italy and Serbia at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on October 12, 2010 in Genoa, Italy
Serbia players gesture to fans prior to the start of a Group C, Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match between Italy and Serbia, at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. The Italy-Serbia European Championship qualifier has been stopped after seven minutes of play due to Serbia fans throwing flares onto the pitch and lighting fireworks

The Irish Football Association and an influential Northern Ireland fans’ group united last night to express their outrage at UEFA’s decision to order Serbia’s clash with Northern Ireland to take place behind closed doors.

Northern Ireland and their fans have been indirectly punished by the UEFA response to Serbia’s Euro 2012 clash with Italy in Genoa on October 12 which was abandoned due to crowd trouble.

Italy received a suspended one-match stadium ban and were awarded a 3-0 win but Serbia must face Nigel Worthington’s side in an empty stadium on March 25 with a second match facing a suspended sanction — and Serbia fans are also banned from travelling to Windsor Park on September 2 next year.

Irish FA Chief-Executive Patrick Nelson said: “This is a disappointing decision for our fans and we have already made representation to UEFA regarding this decision.”

Gary McAllister from the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs said: “We will discuss the UEFA decision with the Irish FA in the coming days and we will do what we can to assist and advise Northern Ireland fans affected by the verdict.”

Meanwhile, the Irish FA has announced that they will support an independent review of the association, demanded by the Sports Minister Nelson McCausland as he seeks reassurances on effective governance at the football body.

An IFA statement read: “Last night the Board of the Irish FA agreed in principle to carry out an independent governance review of the Association. A panel of three individuals, all independent of football in Northern Ireland, will carry out the review. The Irish FA is finalising the terms of reference and will announce full details of these terms and also the members of the Review team in the coming days.”

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