The Albanian prime minister's brother has dismissed accusations he piloted the drone which caused the country's European Championship qualifier with Serbia to be abandoned as "absurd".
Belgrade media and officials accused Olsi Rama of controlling the drone from a VIP box at the stadium during the match between the two Balkan rivals, however he ridiculed the rumours when contacted by AP.
English referee Martin Atkinson initially halted the game in the 41st minute after a drone, carrying a flag of Albania, was grabbed by a Serbian player, sparking a melee which provoked some Serbian fans to run onto the field and confront the Albanian players. The match was quickly abandoned.
Nemanja Gudelj scuffles with midfielder Bekim Balaj and Andi Lila
Albania’s team returned home to a heroes’ welcome for defending their nation’s honour but Uefa said it will open disciplinary cases against both Serbia and Albania over the violence at the stadium.
Serbian minister Aleksandar Vulin said the drone incident was “carefully staged” to discredit Serbia, which hopes to eventually join the 28-nation European Union, as a regional security risk.
The furore occurred a week before Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama's planned visit to Belgrade, the first by an Albanian prime minister in 70 years.