A player with Serbian top flight club Novi Pazar was threatened by the team’s own supporters at gunpoint after missing a penalty, the world players’ union FIFPro said on Thursday.
Describing the incident as “a new low in Serbian professional football”, FIFPro said that Novi Pazar’s Zarko Udovicic sent his penalty over the crossbar in the 85th minute of last Saturday’s game against FK Rad.
Two days later, several hooligans burst into the dressing-room at the club’s training ground, drew a gun and held it in Udovicic’s face, FIFPro said. The player has since left the club.
Mirko Poledica, president of the Serbian professional footballers’ association Nezavisnost, said neither the Serbian Football Association nor the league had taken any action.
“Must we wait until some hooligan actually kills one of our players”, he said. “What worries me is that there is no reaction from the football association. They remain quiet.
“They must do something to guarantee the safety of the players. But they don’t. Next time a player could be murdered.
“The only positive thing from this situation, is that our Deputy Prime Minister (Rasim Ljajic) has spoken out and acknowledged the serious problems we are facing.
“In Serbia, no fan has ever been prosecuted or convicted after violent behaviour against a football player. That’s why players are afraid.
“Each day they hope that there will be nobody knocking on their door to beat them up, that there will be no person setting their car on fire, or that there will be no hooligan putting a gun to their head.”
FIFPro said: “Like every professional workman, each professional footballer is entitled to a safe working environment. It is up to the football and national authorities to provide such safe environment.”
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