Wednesday, 12 May 2010

KF Laçi (Albania)

Klubi Futbollit Laçi are a meat and potatoes team from the city of Laç in the mountainous Albanian region of Lezhë. The club formed in 1965 under the fine name of Industriali Laç, but they didn't make it into their nation's league until 1992. They've spent most of their league history in the second tier of their national league, bar a short spell one step down in the 2006/7 season. But last season they finally won the first division title, and finally find themselves in the 12 club national Superliga.

Their Stadiumi Laçi is in a beautiful spot, dwarfed by the city's craggy mountains on all side, and holds an initmate 5000 fans - a number that it often stretches to the limit with pleasingly bonkers and lively fans.

However, in December of last year the club became embroiled in what has become known as the Gramozi Incident. After an emotionally charged away trip to their Southern Albanian Superliga rivals KS Gramozi Ersekë, there was an on-pitch despute between Laçi defender Jetmir Nina and Gramozi's Kosovar goalscorer Genc Iseni. After a heated exchange, Iseni punched Nina to the ground. While he was down a number of Gramozi players also steamed in, kicking him unconscious and sending him to hospital for some time.

On the way out of the ground, the home fans pelted the Laçi bus with stones, and unrest continued on into the night. As a result of this. Gramozi were ordered to play their next three games behind closed doors, and were fined 300,000 Lek - just short of £2000, but still quite a big sum out that way.

Lively old game, football in Albania...

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