MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. Authorities of Montenegrin Football Association will resort to all possible arguments to prove that Russian football fans provoked local rivals to violence during the March 27 UEFA Euro Cup qualifier, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday.
"It is clear that the president of the Football Association of Montenegro will be doing everything to accuse Russian fans of provoking local supporters," Mutko told journalists ahead of UEFA’s disciplinary body hearings on the suspended match on Wednesday. "This is a common practice."
"We [Russia] should in turn provide our arguments," Mutko said. "There was a threat to safety of players and the 0-3 [technical defeat] decision should have been made instatntly."
UEFA announced a week ago that it had opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro and Russia over March 27 qualifier in Podgorica. The organization said it opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro "for the setting off and throwing of fireworks and objects by their spectators and for holding a match that did not get played in full."
Apart from that, UEFA opened disciplinary case against the RFU for throwing flares and other objects by its fans. The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body is scheduled to consider the issue on April 8.
Igor Akinfeyev, a goalkeeper of the Russian national football team, sustained severe injuries on the night of March 27 during the Group G qualifying match after one of the Montenegrin fans hurled a flare at the Russian footballer.
The goalkeeper was carried away on stretchers and the referee had to take both teams off the pitch for about 30 minutes. The injured Russian player was taken to a hospital in Podgorica. After a while the referee ruled play must go on.
The incident occurred seconds after kick-off. Akinfeyev suffered concussion and a burn of the neck. The match had to be eventually terminated in the 68th minute with no goals scored by either side after an object was thrown at Russian defender Dmitry Kombarov. Montenegro are now faced with a 0:3 technical defeat and disqualification of the home stadium.
The Russian team, including Akinfeyev, returned to Moscow after their plane landed at Sheremetyevo airport the following morning. Upon arrival Akinfeyev told the media he was well.
Russia’s head coach Fabio Capello said commenting on the match that the game should have been halted instantly after the first major incident that followed seconds after kickoff.
He explained that was precisely the kind of decision he and all players had been waiting for. Play should have been discontinued at once, he added.
Russia held the third place in its Group G of the 2016 Euro Cup qualifiers with five points after four matches played before the encounter with Montenegro. The national team was ranked behind Austria (10 points/ and Sweden (6 points). Montenegro’s national squad also had five points after four qualifiers played.
The Russian national team started with 4-0 victory over Liechtenstein in September, had two 1-1 draws in October against Sweden and Moldova and lost to the Austrian side 0-1 in November.
Russia's March 27 match in Podgorica was its 300th competitive fixture - including games as the Soviet Union. The team’s previous 299 UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup matches ended with the record of 170 won, 66 drawn and 63 lost.