UEFA has charged the FA of Romania with several offences including racist behaviour following a match against Kosovo in the Euro 2024 Qualifiers.
During a match between Romania and Kosovo, groups of fans in the Romanian stands were seen to be chanting “Serbia Serbia”. They were also displaying a large banner which read “Kosovo is Serbia”.
Another banner in a different section of the Romanian fans also read “Bessarabia is Serbia” alongside the anti-Kosovo banner.
As a result of this, UEFA has charged Romania’s FA with offences including racist behaviour, as well as for “provocative message of an offensive nature.”
These offences are also joined with charges for fans throwing objects at fans during the match, the blockage of public passageways, and also lighting fireworks.
What sparked these actions from Romania fans?
In February of 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia following years of strained relations between its Serbian and Albanian public.
Serbians consider Kosovo the birthplace of their nation, despite 92% of its 1.8 million population being of Albanian descent and just 6% being of Serbian descent. Romanians, Turks, Gorans and Bosniaks make up the remainder of Kosovo’s population.
Although 100 countries, including the United Kingdom, recognise Kosovo’s independence, more EU countries including Romania do not acknowledge their status.
The “Besserabia is Romania” banner was also displayed, showing the antipathy for the nation that was once part of Romania – now divided between Moldova and areas of Ukraine.
Both displays were of course highly politically driven and therefore should not have been included as a part of football – prompting UEFA to press charges against the FA of Romania.