Albania must play their next two 2006 FIFA World Cup™ home qualifying matches, against Georgia (4 June 2005) and Kazakhstan (3 September 2005), behind closed doors. This decision was taken by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee (chair: Marcel Mathier, Switzerland) on 4 March in the light of various incidents during the World Cup qualifying match between Albania and Ukraine in Tirana on 9 February. The committee also imposed the same sanction on Costa Rica for their next home qualifying match, against Panama on 26 March 2005. Furthermore, the Albanian and Costa Rican football associations have fined CHF 40,000 and CHF 20,000 respectively. These decisions were communicated on 8 March 2005.
According to the reports submitted by the referee and the match commissioner of the Albania v. Ukraine match on 9 February, supporters of the home team threw various objects, including bottles of water, lighters, coins and flagpoles onto the pitch. A number of flares were also lit and fans stormed the pitch at the end of the match. The security staff in place also failed to act in the appropriate manner. In a decision dated 26 October 2004, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee had fined the Football Association of Albania the sum of CHF 14,000 for similar incidents and warned that more severe sanctions would be imposed in the event of further violations.
After the Costa Rica v. Mexico match on 9 February, the reports submitted by the referee, match commissioner and FIFA safety officer noted that home fans had thrown objects including coins, bags and bottles of water, batteries, oranges and lemons at the Mexican players and the match officials. As a result, these persons could not leave the pitch immediately and had to wait for a police escort.
These decisions may be contested before the FIFA Appeal Committee. Appeals must be lodged within three days of communication of the decision, with a reasoned appeal lodged within a further seven days.