A real scandal took place today at Red Star Belgrade, the omni-sports club from Belgrade, Serbia.
Apparently, the leader of the Basketball department Nebojša Čović, and his colleague from the football department, Dragan Džajić, got into a heated argument that quickly escalated to a shouting match and ended in a brawl!
Dragan Džajić is the President of the club as a whole, while Nebojša Čović is Vice-President. In the daily operations however Dragan Džajić runs the Football club and Nebojša Čović the Basketball club.
It was publicly known that there were tensions between the two. It all had to do with the financial problems of the club in the past. There were many millions in debts and the club was very close to bankruptcy. However, Čović had been very successful in cleaning up the financial mess. Especially in regards to the Basketball team, where he quickly reduced a debt of € 15.000.000 to only € 336.000. In addition, he also attracted Telekom Serbia as the main sponsor of the Basketball team. Basically he has made the Basketball department healthy and also put a solid team in the floor (currently 2nd in the Adriatic League), that is a real hit this season.
The situation of the football club is almost the opposite, and very desperate.
Nebojša Čović was not shy at all to ventilate his frustration with his colleagues at the football department, who he called incompetent and lazy. Most probably it was this that lead to the incidents in the Red Star front office.
Dragan Džajić is regarded as the best Serbian football player of all times and is a living legend, but Nebojša Čović is also a heavy weight. Having a political background he was mayor of Belgrade (1994) and even Prime Minister of Serbia for a short period in 2003.
The Basketball world knows him as the big man behind FMP Železnik. In 2011 that club officially merged with the practically bankrupt Basketball team of Red Star, giving FMP the rights on using the Red Star, logo, name, players and everything else associate with the Basketball team. Officially it was a merger, but in reality it was more of a take-over. It is clear from all this that Nebojša Čović carries a lot of weight.
The omniclub Red Star (that also involves many other sports like Volleyball, Waterpolo, Icehockey, Handball e.t.c) recently held elections for a new President and Dragan Džajić won that election ahead of……… guess who……Nebojša Čović!
After the tensions of the last couple of weeks and today’s incident it is clear that either Džajić or Čović has to go. It is a real showdown between the two most popular sports in Serbia; Basketball and Football. To be continued…….