Serbia soccer association threatens to quit Euro 2024 after ‘kill, kill, kill the Serb’ chant reportedly heard at match

The Football Association of Serbia has written to the UEFA Secretary General following a chant reportedly heard at a European Championships – Euro 2024 – match between Croatia and Albania on Wednesday in Hamburg.

In the letter to UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis on Thursday, the assocation describes it as “shameful joint chanting by fans of both national teams, which was directed against the Serbian nation as a whole.” The chant, the Serbian association said, was “kill, kill, kill the Serb.”

The General Secretary of the Football Association of Serbia, Jovan Šurbatović, also threatened to pull the Serbia team out of the tournament, according to Serbia state broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia (RTS/PTC) in comments published on Wednesday evening.

“What happened is scandalous and we will ask UEFA for sanctions, even if it means not continuing the competition,” Šurbatović said, according to RTS.

On Thursday, UEFA said it had appointed an inspector “to conduct an investigation regarding potential racist and/or discriminatory conduct by supporters” during Croatia’s game against Albania.

Serbia played its second Group C match in Euro 2024 against Slovenia earlier on Thursday, drawing 1-1 to keep alive its chances of qualifying for Euro 2024’s knockout stages. Albania and Croatia drew 2-2 in their match Wednesday.

Serbia kept its hopes alive of reaching the knockout stages with a draw on Thursday. - Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images
Serbia kept its hopes alive of reaching the knockout stages with a draw on Thursday. - Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images

Animosity between Croatian and Albanian fans towards Serbia stems from the 1990s and the Balkan conflicts and are generally seen as being ethnic and political grievances. The issues include a focus around the issue of Kosovo, a former autonomous province of Serbia but has majority ethnic Albanians.

In the letter posted online by the Football Association of Serbia it asked UEFA, the governing body of European football, to “punish those responsible” for their actions and reminded the organization “that this kind of rampage, hatred and racism represent everything that your organization is fighting against.”

The letter also details the exact time the chant was reportedly heard – the 58th minute – and accused an unnamed Albanian player of using a megaphone after the game of “inflaming” the crowd using the same chant.

The Croatian Football Federation told CNN that, as far as it was aware, its fans were not involved in any racist or discriminatory chants during the match against Albania, and said it was not mentioned in the UEFA delegate’s report.

CNN has contacted the Albanian soccer federation for comment on the Football Association of Serbia’s letter.

On Thursday, UEFA also said it was also investigating the “alleged inappropriate behaviour” of Albania’s forward Mirlind Daku. It did not specify if this was the player Serbia referred to in its letter.

Since the beginning of the tournament last week, the Serbian and Albanian soccer associations have each been fined by UEFA for fan incidents.

UEFA said they have fined the Albanian Football Association for four incidents at their opening match versus Italy – lighting off fireworks, throwing objects, pitch invasion and “transmitting provocative messages not fit for a sports event.”

In total, Albania was fined 37,375 euros (approximately $40,000) for the incidents.

Following Serbia’s 1-0 loss to England on Sunday, the Kosovar Football Association submitted a request to UEFA for a banner and chants reportedly sung by Serbian fans at its match. The statement called the chants “chauvinistic and racist.”

UEFA has fined Serbia for fans “transmitting a provocative message not fit for a sports event” and throwing of objects. Both of which resulted in a total 14,500 euro (approximately $15,500) fine.

Serbia vs. Slovenia

Serbia scored a dramatic stoppage-time equalizer to draw 1-1 against Slovenia on Thursday, a result which keeps its Euro 2024 dreams very much alive.

Luka Jović’s header in the 95th minute of the match sparked frenzied scenes inside Munich’s Allianz Arena, a goal which also denied Slovenia its first ever win at a European Championships.

Žan Karničnik had seemingly won the game for Slovenia after his second-half strike, but Serbia kept playing until securing its dramatic equalizer in the very last passage of play.

The result means Serbia sits bottom of Group C on one point, with Slovenia in second with two points.

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