Kosovo-Romania game interrupted by ‘Serbia’ chants (VIDEO)

Romanian ultras shouted ‘Kosovo is Serbia’ during the UEFA qualifier in Bucharest

A group qualifier for the 2024 UEFA championship between Romania and Kosovo was delayed for 30 minutes on Tuesday evening, after the visiting players objected to Romanian fans displaying a banner that said “Kosovo is Serbia” and chanting the name of the neighboring country.

Romania is one of the five EU member states that does not recognize Kosovo, a breakaway province of Serbia whose ethnic Albanian provisional government declared independence in 2008. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) admitted Kosovo as a member in 2016, however.

As the match in Bucharest opened, Romanian ‘ultras’ chanted “Serbia! Serbia!” as the anthem of Kosovo played. Organizers had to turn up the sound to cover the chants, according to Romanian journalist Emanuel Rosu. 

Several Romanian social media users posted videos of Kosovo fans booing the Romanian anthem first, during the June match in Pristina.

At the beginning of the match, the Ro ultras chanted “Serbia,Serbia” when the Kosovo anthem was played.
The organizers had to play it loud to cover the sound from the ultras stand. pic.twitter.com/05LKnlm6lC

— Emanuel Roşu (@Emishor) September 12, 2023

Video and photos from the National Arena in Bucharest showed Romanian fans with banners declaring ‘Kosovo is Serbia’ in Serbian and ‘Bessarabia is Romania’ in Romanian. Bessarabia is one of the names for present-day Moldova.


— Anis (@An1s97) September 12, 2023

“Please stop chanting our neighbor’s name,” the organizers repeatedly reminded the crowd, letting them know the game might be interrupted because “Revisionism is not tolerated by UEFA.” 

Romania vs Kosovo will RESUME.
“Please stop chanting our neighbour’s name. This is the last warning. The game will be stopped otherwise”.
Intense half-an-hour in Bucharest!!! pic.twitter.com/4Mk8LSOxC7

— Emanuel Roşu (@Emishor) September 12, 2023

Kosovo players eventually walked off the pitch in protest, and the game was paused for more than 30 minutes before resuming. The final score ended up being 2:0 for Romania.

When some Kosovo players approached the Romanian ultras stand again, the announcers urged the fans: “Don’t accept any provocation. Don’t sing what you sang earlier. Don’t show banners.”

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Djokovic declares ‘Kosovo is Serbia’

Ethnic Albanian social media users accused Romanian fans of “racist” chants, demanding that the game be called and Kosovo awarded a victory by default. The Kosovo FA claimed the banner was “hateful.” Kosovo is in the qualifier group with Andorra, Belarus, Israel, Romania, and Switzerland. It has not won any of the games so far.

During the Albania-Serbia UEFA qualifier in 2014, an Albanian fan flew a drone into the stadium in Belgrade. When a Serbian player tore off the nationalist banner hung from the drone, a fight broke out on the pitch and the game was called. UEFA initially gave Serbia the default victory but docked it the three points. Albania then ‘won’ the three points in arbitration.

NATO troops took control of the province in June 1999, after a 78-day air war against Serbia without UN authorization. The UN Security Council Resolution 1244 recognizes Kosovo as sovereign Serbian territory. Russia, China, India and about half the UN members have joined Serbia in not recognizing the government in Pristina. 

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