Russia launch protest following Montenegro match

The Russian Football Union has launched a protest against the decision by UEFA officials to continue the Euro 2016 qualifier against Montenegro despite goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev being hit by a flare in the first minute of the match.

Reuters| Updated: Mar 28, 2015, 14:24 PM IST
Russia launch protest following Montenegro match

MOSCOW: The Russian Football Union has launched a protest against the decision by UEFA officials to continue the Euro 2016 qualifier against Montenegro despite goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev being hit by a flare in the first minute of the match.

Montenegro and Russia`s Euro 2016 qualifier was abandoned midway through the second half on Friday after two outbreaks of crowd trouble and a scuffle between the players.

The game in Podgorica was first delayed by 33 minutes when Russia goalkeeper Akinfeev was hit on the head by a flare thrown from the Montenegro section of the ground soon after kickoff.

Midway through the second half a scuffle ensued between players near the touchline, with Eastern Europe`s Sport Klub television reporting that a missile hurled from the terraces appeared to have hit another Russian player.

"It is such a shame that the actions of the Montenegro supporters spoilt what would have been a very interesting game," Nikolay Tolstykh, the president of the Russian Football Union, told the Sport Express newspaper.

"Following the end of the match, the Russian Football Union launched a protest. In our view the game should have been stopped in the first minute. The protest has been made. Today we will let UEFA know of our position.

"During the timeframe that they have, UEFA will look at our protest and I am sure they will come up with a objective and fair decision, that is according to the regulations within their documents."

UEFA said it would wait to receive reports from the match delegate and referee before opening disciplinary proceedings but Russian coach Fabio Capello also felt that the match should have been stopped after the Akinfeev incident.

"In my opinion, they needed to stop the game immediately," Capello said in his press conference. "We did what the match delegate told us and went out on to the pitch and played. We could not simply refuse and walk away."

"The supporters were warned that if they threw anything else from the stands again, then the match would be stopped. This is exactly what happened," Russian defender Vasili Berezutski told the Russia 2 television channel.

"I think a lighter hit Dmitry Kombarov. Therefore the referee led the players off the pitch and to the dressing rooms."

Eduard Bezuglov, the doctor of the Russian team, said the goalkeeper has suffered concussion and a burn on his neck.

"Akinfeev has a head concussion and a burnt neck after he was hit by a flare," he was quoted as saying by the Russian Football Union website (www.rfs.ru).

"He underwent an observation in a local clinic. He had a brain scan as well as a number of other tests. His life is not in danger.

"Akinfeev went back with his teammates to Moscow and he will continue his rehabilitation there."