Drone seized as soccer fans held in Kosovo before Euro game

PRAGUE — Officials say police in Kosovo have arrested eight Czech soccer fans who were allegedly planning to fly a drone with a pro-Serbia banner during Saturday's 2020 European Championship qualifier between Kosovo and the Czech Republic.

Michal Jurman, spokesman for the Czech soccer association, says six men and two women were arrested near the Kosovo capital of Pristina. Police seized a drone, a Serbian flag and a banner that read "Kosovo is Serbia," and also fireworks and a knife.

Kosovo police said in a statement they had stopped two cars with Czech number plates and found a drone, banner, Serbian flag, six knives and two walkie-talkies.

The Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed the arrests. Spokesman Robert Rehak says they took place Friday and all eight people, one of whom also has Serbian citizenship, were released early Saturday.

There are tight security measures around the stadium ahead of the match starting at 1300 GMT. Fans can bring flags to the game but no other objects.

"Dardanet," a group of Kosovo fans, called on supporters to show "maturity and self-restraint."

"Any potential incident would harm Kosovo," the group said in a Facebook statement.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 which Belgrade refuses to recognize.

The Czech Republic, which faces Kosovo in a Group A game in Pristina, is among the European Union states to have recognized Kosovo.

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