Romania-Kosovo soccer game in Euro 2024 qualifying stopped because of home fans' pro-Serbia chants

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Romania and Kosovo teams were taken off the field for 45 minutes during a European Championship qualifying game in Bucharest on Tuesday when home fans aimed pro-Serbia chants at the visiting players.

“Due to discriminatory behavior from supporters, the match has been suspended,” UEFA stated on an in-game report on its website.

Romania fans chanted and displayed a banner with the “Kosovo is Serbia” slogan and the game was stopped after about 18 minutes. The score was 0-0.

Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 is formally recognized by about 100 countries and the majority of European Union members though not Romania.

UEFA protocol for match referees to follow in such incidents requires first to order a warning broadcast in the stadium and then to take the teams back to the locker room. The third step is to abandon the game.

Romania would forfeit the game as a 3-0 loss if the game is abandoned, though the first half resumed after a 45-minute delay.

Romania already faces punishment from UEFA from a disciplinary case it must now open for making a prohibited political statement at a game.

A forfeit would damage Romania's currently good chances of advancing to the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.

The Romanians are unbeaten and second behind Switzerland in six-team Group I. The top two in November advance to the finals tournament.


AP soccer:

The Associated Press