UEFA charges Albania over provocative message, fireworks

Albania are facing four UEFA charges over a "provocative message" allegedly displayed by their fans and other behavior in a European Championship loss to Italy.

UEFA said Sunday that the Albanian soccer federation was facing disciplinary proceedings over the message, the throwing of objects, use of fireworks and an "invasion of the field of play." One person entered the field of play near the end of the game, which Albania lost 2-1.

UEFA didn't say which message it objected to, only that the charge relates to "transmitting a provocative message unfit for a sports event."

Some Albanian fans had displayed flags of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Ethnic Albanian separatists from the group fought a 1998-1999 war with Serbian forces in what was then the province of Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia doesn't recognize it as independent. A flag depicting a map of "Greater Albania" was also displayed at the game.

The charges are the first disciplinary matters announced by UEFA at Euro 2024, which began Friday in Germany.

The organisation said UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) will decide on the matter in due course.

An FSHF spokesperson said in a statement that it planned to submit an official statement to the CEDB within the deadline set by UEFA.

"We would like to emphasise that all necessary measures were taken to ensure the successful organisation of the match," the spokesperson added. "The event was a celebration of European football, and no major incidents occurred that would detract from the positive atmosphere."

Albania lost their Euro opener 2-1 to Italy.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this story.