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UEFA launches investigation into Genoa violence

UEFA has opened a "full and thorough" investigation into the violent scenes that forced Tuesday night's Euro 2012 qualifier between Italy and Serbia to be abandoned.

• 'Shame' of Serbian chief
• Serbian authorities blamed

Kick-off in Genoa was delayed by 35 minutes when travelling Serbian fans threw fireworks at the home support. When the match did get underway, it lasted only six minutes as flares were thrown at Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.

Serbian fans were also caught up in clashes prior to the game - with the country's team coach also attacked - while supporters taunted police, cut protective nets and smashed Perspex barriers at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

"Following the abandonment of yesterday's UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match between Italy and Serbia at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa after only six minutes of play, UEFA has confirmed today that it has immediately opened a full and thorough disciplinary investigation into the incidents of serious disorder witnessed at the match and the circumstances surrounding it," a UEFA statement read.

"Once the full dossier is completed, with the assistance of both the referee and delegate reports, the matter will be put before the independent UEFA control and disciplinary body for further review and possible sanctions.

"The sanctions that are available to the control and disciplinary body can be found in the UEFA disciplinary regulations, edition 2008, article 14, and range from a reprimand or fine, up to a stadium closure or 'disqualification from competitions in progress and/or exclusion from future competitions'.

"The proposed date for the meeting of the control and disciplinary body to hear this case is Thursday 28 October."

Serbia's government has also apologised to Italy for the behaviour of their travelling support.

"What happened in Genoa was a disgrace, a nightmare,'' said Sanda Raskovic-Ivic, Serbia's ambassador in Rome. "I and all of Serbians are ashamed. I take this opportunity to send the apologies from the embassy, our government and our population to the Italian people for what has happened."

Northern Ireland will wait to hear UEFA's verdict ahead of their trip to Belgrade next year. Patrick Nelson, chief executive of the Irish Football Association, said the body would wait to hear from UEFA before making any judgments on safety.

He said: "It's a matter for UEFA and we will look out and see what they say about it as our next away game is away in Serbia. We'll need to plan for that game in the near future. We plan all our trips carefully as all trips are different.

"We have a security officer as part of the team. We will work with him, UEFA and the other country, whichever country that may be. We also work quite closely with the Amalgamation (of Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs), not just for this trip to Serbia but every trip."

It has also emerged the the Italian federation, the FIGC, could also face punishment.

UEFA spokesman Rob Faulkner told Gazzetta dello Sport: "Aside from the responsibility of those that provoked the incidents, UEFA rules also consider the responsibility of the federation that organises the game.

"They have the duty to guarantee safety in the stadium as well as making sure the game goes ahead."

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