A quite decent football match was played on Thursday at the stadium of Partizan, where a team whose players have not received their pays for months was completely even with team of a club that spent 42 million euro on bringing six players only in the last summer transfer window. We watched proper conduct of players on the field, fair arbitration, and it seemed that the atmosphere on the stands was decent, without torches, firecrackers or fights. However, several fools on the stand with the most devoted fans of Partizan put effort into preventing everything from being ideal and at one moment opened a piece of fabric with a message whose aim was to offend players and fans of the opposing team, as it usually goes at football stadiums. Still, it would be too mild to say that content of the message was improper, because its idiotic ambiguity, as well as subsequent public reaction, made it actually scandalous. At the moment it was shown, message from that piece of yellow fabric was not seen by players and coaching staff of both teams, as well as TV cameras, not only in Serbia, but in England as well, since it was removed quickly after it appeared. There is a small possibility that creators of this idiotic idea had a sudden bite of guilty conscience, but they probably remembered that referees on this match were coming from Israel, so removal was done for practical reasons. But the damage has been done, and it is so big that now FC Partizan in association with Serbian authorities has to try to find, at least for practical reasons, executors of this foolish act that stained not only the club and its fans, but the entire country. After they are found, and it seems that will not be hard since their faces are seen clear on the photo surrounding the world, it is necessary to determine whether they are people with sick minds, fascist orientation or only a part of the fan sediment present at all stadiums all around the football planet, who cannot see the forest from the tree. The forest represents interests of the club (national team) whose fans they present themselves as, and those interests include inviolability of general moral integrity, while the tree is selfishness and nature a of an individual that carries evil incompatible with the idea of sport, and unfortunately often incompatible with humanity as well. Message of the club and country has to be clear and definitive – sick minds do not belong in the stands of sport stadiums or halls.
Because of a few fools, the club is now in a situation that it is ashamed and apologizing for something it did not cause, and objectively looking, something it could not prevent because normal search of fans at the entrance of the stadium cannot discover a piece of fabric with inappropriate contents. Still, the club cannot evade the moral responsibility for this incident, and it is completely likely that it will not be able to evade the UEFA sanction. Even before the UEFA’s decision, moral punishment has already hit not only normal fans of the club, who are an enormous majority in the club’s fan body, but also the entire sports public that is disgusted with another scandal on stands of football stadiums. Weight of that moral punishment has significantly increased due to a really big amount of hate that can be felt from the English media’s reports and is directed at the entire nation. Message sent by those media, and among them are so-called distinguished ones, such as the Sun, is basically no different from the one shown by a couple of fools from the south stands of the stadium of Partizan. Namely, in introduction of the article regarding events at the stadium of Partizan, reporter of the Sun from Belgrade, Paul Jiggins called the Serbs sick (“SICK Serbs face a UEFA backlash after aiming an anti-Semitic banner at Spurs”). Similar views that belittle the entire nation because of a couple of fools’ idiotism can be read in other English media, too. Many are telling again about Partizan fans’ outbursts from the past, but are the ones calling upon past completely pure? Most of those who love the English football know that fans of other clubs called Liverpool “Niggerpool”, as well as that there are still insults pointed at Welsh players by printing t-shirts and banners with pictures of a sexual intercourse between a man and a sheep, which is depicted in a phrase Sheepshaggers, a name they call the Welsh players. There are also numerous racism incidents, to which the British authorities react adequately, but those incidents are still happening. During match against Crvena Zvezda, fans of Leicester, the same as fans of Leeds against Partizan, simulated flurry of airplanes with their arms spread wide, alluding at bombing of Serbia by NATO, in which the British aviation also participated, a former ally of Serbia in battle against fascist Germany during the World War II. Precisely during that most blood-shedding war in the history of human kind, joint suffering strengthened friendship between Jews and Serbs, which is very well known by members of Jewish community in Serbia. Of course, there are always idiots and you cannot completely eliminate the possibility of an incident, but you can take certain measures of sanctioning such acts. Generalization is not only wrong, but monstrous, especially when one knows that the most extreme fascist organizations are the most numerous and most active in other countries, but not in Serbia. That is why, those who are prone to generalization should firstly look at their own backyard.
No one normal can justify the incident at the stadium of Partizan, but also no one normal should generalize and over-exaggerate that incident. Definitely that should not be done by the UEFA bodies, because certain measures they took in recent history have thrown a shadow on their objectivity. The most fresh example is disqualification of Legia from the Champions League qualifications, even beside the fact they out-played Celtic in both matches. Technical omission of Legia’s administration member, which absolutely did not have any effect on the outcome of the rematch in Glasgow, was estimated by the UEFA as more drastic than fraud committed by Milan and Fenerbahce not so long ago. Because of that, it is good that the UEFA decision is postponed for two weeks, because one should take all facts into consideration with a cool head, especially the most important ones that regard security and other organizational factors under which the match was played. The punishment should be felt by the most extreme fan body, and not the club. The UEFA could demand the club to take such measures itself, and in case of a dissatisfactory reaction of the club, disciplinary bodies should get involved and punish the club, too. Otherwise, clubs and enormous normal fans bodies will be victims of extreme individuals, after what the sense in organizing sports events will be questioned. Not so long ago Partizan was victim to a rash UEFA decision to eliminate the club from further competition even after two more than convincing victories against Siroki Brijeg. Partizan fans were physically attacked by fans of Siroki Brijeg, and because they defended themselves, the club was harshly punished. In match at Siroki Brijeg, host’s fans scanned “Ubi, ubi Srbina” (Kill, kill a Serb), which has its historical background in massive slaughter of Serbs in Croatia during the World War II. However, at that time no one judged such fascist behavior of host’s fans, which was much bigger than the events in Belgrade. Photos from Belgrade confirm that, completely opposite to writing of the English media, there was a pleasant and family atmosphere on the stands, with presence of a lot of children (photos taken from http://www.en.partizan.rs/).
Because of that, not everything good seen in that match should not be thrown beneath such short mindless act, which was not even really noticed in the couple of minutes it was shown. Coach of Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino, stated himself that he did not notice it, but that he definitely judges such unacceptable action that shows disrespect. Unfortunately, after returning to London, Pochettino presented himself to the public with his own way of showing disrespect, saying: “bonkers Belgrade”. Partizan apologized for what a couple of idiots, who do not have anything to do with the club, did and maybe Tottenham should apologize for the insulting statement of their coach, that not only offended the opposing club, but the entire city. If we were to agree with the English Sun’s logic, it would be an offense to the entire nation. Maybe Pochettino could explain what kind of hostility he met in Belgrade. Unless he considers under that the effort of Partizan’s players, with which they succeeded in being completely even with his too-expensive team. It seems that the Argentinean found his way around quickly and used the situation that some of the English media hysterically project an action of two-three hotheads on the club, Belgrade and Serbia as diversion from talk about the game itself. That is probably because it would not be very pleasant.
As for Partizan, hooligans have to be identified and punished for their actions, the same way it is done with hooligans in England. Because, guess what, there are hooligans there as well. The British authorities have found a way for the punishment to be felt more by the offenders, and less by the clubs. The same is expected of the UEFA. Otherwise, once again it will be questioned whether football became only a game for the rich and powerful.