A drone carrying a flag flies over a soccer game, WWE style brawl ensues
For the first time in 47 years, the Albanian soccer team travelled to Serbia for a 2016 European Championship qualifying match. Things did not go well. Before the end of the first half, the game turned into a brutal WWE-style fight complete with chairs fight, players pummeled, and the Albanian prime minister’s brother being arrested.
According to Business Insider, the problems began at around the 40th minute, when a drone flew over the stadium displaying a flag of “Greater Albania.”
Albania and Serbia have a long, complicated history. The term “Greater Albania” refers to a region not found on any map, that encompasses the current Albania, as well as areas of modern day Kosovo, Serbia, and more. The countries aren’t actively at war, but there is a bloody history surrounding the ethnic relations, especially regarding the ethnic Albanians living in Serbia. FIFA has specific rules regarding nations with a violent history playing each other, but the officials deemed the risk minor. Oops.
When the flag-carrying drone appeared, referee Martin Atkinson stopped the game. Serbian defender Stefan Mitrovic grabbed the flag and attempted to drag it down. It did not go well.
Albanian players confronted Atkinson and took the flag. Serbian fans rushed the field (one of which brought a chair with him) and a fight broke out. Players were escorted into the locker rooms, and the game was abandoned.
To add an even stranger twist, Olsi Rama, the brother of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, was reportedly the person controlling the drone. He was arrested and sent back to Albania.
Check out video of the game below.