Serbia-Italy stopped due to fan trouble

The European Championship qualifier yesterday between host Italy and Serbia in Genoa was abandoned after just 7 minutes because of crowd trouble.

Serbia fans, who had clashed with police during the day, delayed the start of the Group C match by 45 minutes before throwing flares and fireworks onto the field once play finally began. Referee Craig Thomson, of Scotland, stopped the game, with the score 0-0, but Italy is likely to be awarded the victory by forfeit.

Serbia fans have grown disillusioned with their team - which started former American youth national team defender Neven Subotic - after its poor beginning in qualifying, which followed a first-round exit from the World Cup. Fans whistled and booed the Serbian national anthem, and Serbia goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic was nearly hit by one of the flares thrown onto the pitch.

"The referee felt that the players' security couldn't be assured. Now it's up to UEFA and their disciplinary procedures," Italian soccer federation general secretary Antonello Valentini said.

In other soccer news:

* Justice Christopher Floyd said he will issue a ruling today on whether the Liverpool Premier League club is sold to the parent company of the Boston Red Sox or to a Singapore billionaire.

* Soccer's experimental, five-officials system to referee matches needs fast-track approval next year to be ready for the 2014 World Cup, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said.

* FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon said he is not considering running against Sepp Blatter in next year's presidential elections.




* Trevor Gretzky, son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, has committed to play baseball at San Diego State for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. He is a first baseman who hit .341 with two home runs and 33 RBI last spring at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High.

* The New York Mets have interviewed Chicago White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn in their search to hire a GM. Former Arizona GM Josh Byrnes will meet with the Mets today and longtime baseball executive Sandy Alderson will speak with the team later this week.

* Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, 91, has returned home following surgery to have a pacemaker implanted.




* Wladimir Klitschko will defend his IBF heavyweight title against Dereck Chisora, of Britain, in Mannheim, Germany, on Dec. 11.

* The International Boxing Association has chosen Russia's Artur Beterbiev and Ireland's Katie Taylor as the best amateur boxers of the year.


Sport Stops


* NASCAR's Tony Stewart announced a partnership with ExxonMobil that fills the primary sponsorship holes on his race car for next season.

* Former world champion Yuri van Gelder has been pulled from the Dutch gymnastics team for unspecified medical reasons for the upcoming world championships. The Dutch gymnastics union cited "medical reasons of a personal nature" without elaborating. Van Gelder recently returned to competition after serving a 1-year ban for cocaine use.