Albania Football Association detests fan violence, blames Polish for provoking

Albania’s football federation on Thursday deplored the violent behaviour of Albanian fans and blamed Polish fans for provocation in their World Cup qualifying match this week.

Poland's players leave the pitch after referee interrupted the match due to Albania's fans throwing bottles on the pitch during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification group I football match between Albania and Poland.   -  AFP

Albania’s football federation on Thursday deplored the violent behaviour of Albanian fans and blamed Polish fans for provocation in their World Cup qualifying match this week.

Albania lost to Poland 1-0 in Tirana on Tuesday. The game was suspended for around 20 minutes after Karol Świderski had just scored for Poland in the 77th minute and Albanian fans hurled water bottles at the celebrating Poles. Poland’s players walked off but returned to the field and held on to win.

A day later, FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the Hungarian, English, Albanian and Polish federations after condemning disorder involving Hungary and Albania fans in separate qualifiers.

FIFA assessing punishments for Hungary, Albania crowd unrest  

The Albania Football Association acknowledged the "incidents do not honour at all us, Albania and its wonderful fans,” adding “we had 22,000 excellent fans and only some scores of individuals spoiled all the good things done from the team.”

The statement by the association, however, blamed Polish fans for a “continuous provocation and a very aggressive behaviour," adding "the Polish fans repeatedly for about two hours hurled objects at our fans in two areas of the stadium.”

“We do not have violent fans. We do not have a history of problematic fans. On the contrary, the excellent behaviour and support of our fans during the matches and outside are an object of pride for us."

Next May, Albania’s Air Stadium, inaugurated two years ago, will host the Europa Conference League Final. The association pledged to work with the local authorities “to raise our organizational capacities.”

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