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Serbia could face disqualification from the European Championship

NYON, Switzerland — Police investigating rioting at the Italy-Serbia game have detained 17 people, including the alleged ringleader, and UEFA warned that sanctions against Serbia could include disqualification from the European Championship or exclusion from future competitions.


The match in Genoa on Tuesday was abandoned after seven minutes when Serbia fans threw flares and fireworks onto the field, burned a flag and broke barriers. Violent clashes continued through the night, injuring 16 people, including two policemen.


Police found the alleged instigator of the rioting in the trunk of a bus that was to take the Serbian fans home from the Euro 2012 qualifier. While his face was covered by a mask during the violence, police identified him by the tattoos on his arms and found explosive material in his possession.


Genoa police official Sebastiano Salvo identified the ringleader as 30-year-old Ivan Bogdanov, who climbed onto a barrier separating fans from the field, used a wire cutter to slice apart a mesh fence and launched fireworks onto the field.

Bogdanov didn’t say anything when he was arrested and was being held in a Genoa jail under accusations of causing violence and damage and resisting arrest, Salvo said, adding that 600 pieces of fireworks and explosives were found in four bags inside the bus holding Serbian fans.

Hours before the match, a flare was thrown at Serbia’s top goalkeeper, Vladimir Stojkovic, inside the team bus, and Italy’s squad found him trembling inside the Azzurri changing room when it arrived at Luigi Ferraris Stadium.

Stojkovic upset some Red Star Belgrade fans by moving to the fierce rival Partizan in the offseason.

Serbia has faced increased criticism at home after losing 3-1 at home to Estonia on Friday. That match marked the debut of new coach Vladimir Petrovic, who was called in when Radomir Antic was fired following a 1-1 draw at home with Slovenia last month, which only added to a crisis that began with a disappointing first-round exit from the World Cup. READ FULL STORY on CBSsports.com


What UEFA sanctions will Serbia face for Genoa riot? welcome your comments below

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