Serbia news

Serbian ringleader jailed

March 9, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Serbian fan Ivan Bogdanov has been sent to prison for three years and three months after being found guilty of instigating a riot at a European Championship qualifier in Italy in October.

Serbian authorities have been blamed for allowing hooligans to travel
GettyImagesSerbian authorities have been blamed for allowing hooligans to travel

Bogdanov, 29, wore a black mask over his face as he climbed onto a barrier separating fans from the field, used a wire cutter to slice apart a mesh fence and launched fireworks onto the field.

The match was stopped in the seventh minute with the score at 0-0 and UEFA awarded Italy a 3-0 win, while also ordering Serbia to play its March 25 home match against Northern Ireland in an empty stadium.

Bogdanov was one of four Serbian football fans jailed over the clashes - which saw 16 people injured - for between 30 and 39 months.

"They come from a culture where you're punished if you make a mistake. They know they have committed a crime," said Riccardo Di Rella, a lawyer for one of the men.