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Footballers' union Fifpro: 'Fans threatened to beat or stab the players'

Incredible details released regarding the toxic environment of the Serbian league.

Image: Marko Drobnjakovic/AP/Press Association Images

FIFPRO, THE FOOTBALLERS’ UNION, has urged professional players not to move to Serbia as the country’s domestic game teeters on the brink.

In particular, the organisation details the plight of SuperLiga side FK Radnicki 1923. Since August, the club’s players haven’t received any wages and earlier this month they decided to go on strike.

Two days later, the club told them a group of fans wanted to talk with them in the dressing room.

“These so-called fans insulted the players and threatened to beat or stab them with knives if the players were to continue their strike”, according to Fifpro.

One of the team’s most experienced players, Vuk Sotirovic, was assaulted when he tried to intervene.

The president of the Serbian players’ union, Mirko Poledica, revealed that the team’s coach Nesko Milovanovic was allegedly behind the incident.

The team played their next match though supporters abused and threatened the players throughout with one banner stating Sotirovic could be killed.

Union president Poledica painted a worrying picture of what it’s like to be a professional footballer in Serbia currently.

There are players who lack the money to buy milk for their children. A player who joined Radnicki 1923 in August, has received just one monthly salary after signing for the club. “He only received 1,000 euro in four months, but this is not enough to cover four months’ living expenses.”

A litany of Serbian top-flight clubs are struggling with financial issues. Eight of sixteen Superliga teams have had their accounts seized by Serbian banks and cannot pay staff.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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