Red Star crisis grows
Posted: 28 April 2009 Time: 13:19
Bernard Parker’s Serbian club, Red Star Belgrade, continues to reel under a growing cash crisis with the latest news being that executive board has stepped down.
The board resigned under pressure from angry fans yesterday (Monday) after club president Dobrivoje Tanasijevic quit last week when the 1991 European Cup winners revealed they owed around R265-million to creditors. Many players have not been paid for months, while the club also had its water supply and telephone lines cut for several days in March due to unpaid bills, according to a report put out today by Reuters. The club was also forced to close its canteen and travel to first division rivals Javor Ivanjica on the day of the match last week, because they did not have the funds to cover a night in a local hotel. “The entire executive board has stepped down and a three-man interim committee will be in charge until June 8, when a new president will be elected,” the board said. “Red Star owes money to its players, it has owed money before but it has never failed to settle any of its debts, meaning that this squad will also be paid in full in the foreseeable future.” The crisis has been compounded by a very poor season in which champions and city rivals Partizan opened up a huge gap at the top of the 12-team League and retained the title last weekend with five games to spare. Red Star also made a 17th successive early exit from Europe, when they were knocked out of the Uefa Cup second qualifying round by Cypriots APOEL Nicosia in August. With fans demanding the resignation of the board for some time, discontent in the dressing room culminated earlier this month when midfielder Mirnes Sisic said he had no money for food or rent. Former Serbia winger Ognjen Koroman also described the gravity of the situation. “Red Star owes me a pile of money, I haven’t been paid in a long while,” he told daily Press and added: “I am not going to sue the club because there is no point.” Bafana Bafana striker Bernard Parker and his Red Star team mate former AmaZulu midfielder Mohammed Awal-Issah tried to leave the club earlier this month. They were about to board a flight home via Frankfurt in Germany when Red Star officials collared them at Belgrade airport. The two players were threatened and told that they would not get their outstanding monies and that they would not play international football again if they left the country.