THU, 23 NOV 1995 20:36:08 GMT
Another Football Scandal in Sight
AIM , 19.11.1995. AIM, Belgrade, November 19, 1995
While France is shaken by football scandals, and in Croatia people are worried about the destiny of "Hajduk" and Ciro Blazevic, world famous football coach, a scandal is also in sight in Serbia in the Football Club "Partizan". But, Italian football is involved in this one.
Belgrade "Partizan" and Italian "Roma" allegedly fixed the last match they played for the UEFA Cup. The Romans won for the third round, while the Belgrade team got a rather large sum of German marks.
Slobodan Milosavljevic who until recently worked as a clerk in "Partizan" and who is the author of a recently published book called "The Greatest Fishy Business Deals of Leaders of FK 'Partizan' in the Last Decade". The book is shocking, because apart from data on fixing the mentioned game, it offers evidence about double contracts and enormous commissions which were allegedly paid to some officials of the club when football-players were sold abroad. It is "garnished" with original contracts, newspaper articles, receipts, notes. The sums of money mentioned by the author are fabulous.
A Million and a Half Cash in Hand
This particular football match took place in November 1988 in the capital of Italy. It was a return game of the second round played for the Cup of the UEFA. "Partizan" had won the first match with the score of 4:2, and the team from Rome needed to win with at least 2:0, and that is exactly the score the match ended with. "Partizan" played extremely badly, with some of its players "running away" from the ball. The match was soon forgotten.
A year later, in the Geneva Intercontinental Hotel on the occasion of drawing lots for the competition in the following season, Milosavljevic learnt the reason of his team's defeat. He met a man who was presented to him as a representative of a Milan firm called "Sport Trade": "...That afternoon, as previously agreed, a representative of the firm 'Sport Trade' came and to my great astonishment, brought and handed me the sum of 1,500,000 German marks in a thousand- mark-notes saying that this was the second instalment for "moral support" and compensation for damages suffered by the "Partizan" because of the incident which occurred at the first match in Belgrade and because it did not qualify for the second round of this international competition. To my question about the amount of the first instalment and how much remained to be given to us for 'moral support', he told me that this was a matter for the bosses to discuss and that he did not know. But this is not the end of the story. After takeover of the mentioned sum of money was completed, I received a telephone call from Secretary General, Mr Zecevic, who told me to go to the firm which belongs to President Djurkovic (the firm is in Geneva, at the corner of Avenue de Sceron and Avenue de Blanc) and give him 500,000 marks immediately, which I did. The rest of a million marks and another 50,000 marks (coming from a different source which I will explain later on), I brought and handed them over to Zecevic personally two days later. Since I had to sign a receipt when I took the sum of money, I demanded the same from Secreteary General, for the entire sum of 1,550,000 German marks (as Djurkovic did not wish to sign anything, which he never does anyway), and Zecevic did it." This is written in the mentioned book and stands along with a copy of the receipt the then and the now Secretary General of "Partizan", Zarko Zecevic, signed.
What has happened with the remaining million German marks, noone knows, because, according to what the author claims and what the cashier declares, the money has never reached the cash-box of the club.
Slobodan Milosavljevic claims that six members of the team were given a prize to sabotage the game, not knowing about each other. The author of the book does not wish to give their names, because he is saving them for the court, hoping for such an outcome. According to our knowledge, some of the players are ready to testify.
It is interesting that "Partizan" lost the match in Rome, although it had even had a player more than its hosting team for a greater part of the match. At the time, Belgrade sports journal "Sport" carried a title across its whole front page: "Partizan disgraced", and the reporter assessed that: "In the Italian capital, Partizan played cowardly, stiffly and fruitlessly." The reporter even marked six football players with bad marks.
Political Sports Games
Some parts of the book were carried only by rare sensationalist journals in Serbia, and "Partizan" reacted with a statement of the Executive Board claiming that the book was full of propaganda, incredible insinuations and forgeries. It was also stated that "Partizan has taken appropriate legal measures against the writer of this pamphlet." Our attempts to get a statement from one of the heads of the Club concerning this case remained without success.
Football Association of Yugoslavia failed to issue a statement concerning allegations about the fixed football match in Rome.
Since the middle of October when the book was published, not a single influential newspaper or TV station ever published a single word about the alleged impostures, which is explained by powerful backing Partizan has. Mostly powerful managers sit in its Executive Board, who are again mostly members of the Socialist Party of Serbia. One should also bear in mind that the cuurrent Prime Minister of the Serb Government, Mirko Marjanovic used to be the head of the Executive Board of the Football Club Partizan until the moment he was appointed Prime Minister. Ivan Djurkovic, President of the Assembly of the Club was seen at a promotion of the Yugoslav Associated Leftists whose leader is the influential wife of the President of Serbia.
A Belgrade weekly with a big circulation had already prepared an interview with Slobodan Milosavljevic for publication, but the text was rejected with the explanation that it might happen that there would be "no newsprint" for the next volumes! At the same time, dailies with large circulation are full of praise for Partizan, which is explained either by the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary or by a wish to minimize the ugly story.
Talking to the AIM, Slobodan Milosavljevic says that his life is in danger, that he is being threatened. He claims that he has taken steps to protect himself from the threats. He has put documents in a safe place - in Geneva, and he has given a part of them to the officials of the European Football Association.
- I was taken to the police for informative conversation. Even before anything went out in the open. They demanded from me to give over the original documents, which I didn't do. I offered them authenticated copies. I was afraid to be deprived of original evidence of my allegations - Milosavljevic says.
Who is right, "Partizan" or Slobodan Milosavljevic, who was dismissed from his job not long ago, we will learn after completion of the announced court proceedings and statements which might be issued by football organizations of Yugoslavia and Italy.
(AIM) Milenko Vasovic