Albania PM's brother arrested for Serbia drone stunt - report

The brother of Albania's Prime Minister was arrested in Belgrade after Tuesday's Euro 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albania was abandoned due to violent scenes to which Serbia captain Branislav Ivanovic reacted by saying: "We can only regret that football took a back seat."

The match at Partizan Stadium descended into fighting between players, staff and supporters close to half-time with the score still goalless, the melee sparked by a drone carrying a pro-Albania flag hovering over the pitch during a break in play.

English referee Martin Atkinson halted the match, Albania's first visit to the capital of their neighbouring nation since 1967, and after a 50-minute delay the Group I match was abandoned.

UEFA is likely to take a dim view of the controversial incident and match delegate Hari Bin confirmed the governing body will investigate what happened in Belgrade.

Quoted by Serbian media, including the popular Sportske website, he said: ''You saw what happened and at this point I cannot speculate further as to who was responsible and accountable. UEFA will take further steps on the basis of the official report.''

AFP cites a Serbian state television channel RTS report that Olsi Rama -- brother of Albanian premier Edi -- was detained in an executive box at the stadium, apparently for being involved in the stunt which saw an already tense fixture descend into violence.

Ivanovic told reporters after the match: "What happened is something we can't comprehend at the moment.

"On behalf of my team, all I can say is that we wanted to carry on and that we shielded the Albanian players every step of the way to the tunnel (after the riot broke out).

"The Albanian team said they were unfit physically and mentally to carry on after talking to the officials and they will now decide the fate of this match. We can only regret that football took a back seat but it is difficult to draw any conclusions or make any comments now."

Ivanovic was one of several high-profile players in the Serbia team, with Chelsea teammate Nemanja Matic and Manchester City duo Aleksandar Kolarov and Matija Nastasic also in the starting lineup and Liverpool forward Lazar Markovic on the bench.

Albania captain Lorik Cana told broadcasters from his own country: "I saw my players being attacked and hit even inside the tunnel, and even by the stewards.

"We were not in the right psychological or physical state to continue playing."

The two countries, separated by the disputed territory of Kosovo, share a tense history and Albania's federation did not make tickets available for travelling fans after a recommendation from UEFA. Albanian fans attempting to enter the ground faced the possibility of the arrest if they carried Albanian symbols.

Before the match, the Albanian anthem was loudly jeered by Serbian fans and derogatory chanting was heard throughout the first half.

The drone, clearly visible in the lights of the stadium, made a series of passes above the field. The banner displayed an Albanian flag and a map of so-called "Greater Albania," an area that comprises territory within today's Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and northern Greece.

The banner also portrayed two Albanian nationalist leaders -- Ismail Qemali, who declared Albania's independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912 and Isa Boletini, an Albanian fighter against the Turks.

Both Serbian and Albanian fans have a long history of violence and racial abuse. In October 2010, the Italy-Serbia Euro qualifier was disrupted in Genoa by violent Serbia fans. UEFA awarded Italy a 3-0 win.

Information from ESPN FC reporter Nick Ames, the Associated Press and the Press Association was used in this report.