By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With an official press release, Partizan is announcing that they are withdrawing from the Serbian league playoffs, something rumored during the last few days.
The club hopes that this move can be the start of a debate about the future of Serbian basketball, the conditions in the games against Crvena Zvezda, and also the participation of two Belgrade teams in the EuroLeague.
The official press release is the following:
BC Partizan NIS ended season: Opportunity to kick hooliganism out from our basketball
BC Partizan NIS ended season 2021/22 and will not take place in Serbian League Playoffs. This decision was made by The Club after everything that happened during the ABA League finals.
Despite all appeals coming from Crvena Zvezda and Partizan, all five games were full of incidents that jeopardized the safety of the players and coaches. Those incidents led to partial and total closure of the gym, numerous fines, and great embarrassment for Serbian and Regional basketball in front of the whole world.
During the whole series, self-criticism from Partizan representatives was quite big. Both President Ostoja Mijailovic and Head Coach Zeljko Obradovic publicly criticize irresponsible individuals in the stands for their behavior. Unfortunately, critics were not fruitful.
With this act, Partizan NIS wants to send the message that the Club doesn’t want to be part of the hooligan feasts, no matter if they are Crvena Zvezda or Partizan fans. We have reasonable doubt that another Final Series between Partizan NIS and Crvena Zvezda MTS would become just another field for bullies who are destroying our sport which will lead us to another awful message sent to the world.
At the same time, the Club wants to leave the floor for all relevant subjects to sit down and solve all these issues before the beginning of the next season.
Our desire is that Belgrade and Serbia have two representatives in Euroleague. However, this kind of behavior of a certain number of individuals and missed opportunities to punish them will not take us where we want to be.
Our country showed that is capable to organize top sports events. Just recently organized Euroleague Final Four was a great example. We had a full arena of Olympiacos fans followed by Crvena Zvezda fans, four clubs in total, many tourists in Belgrade, and not a single incident.
Conclusion: Yes, we can! And that’s the picture we should all send from Belgrade as the capital of basketball.
Also, we would like to underline the fact that in 20 years of participation in Euroleague competitions, no incidents like the ones in the ABA Finals occurred in matches organized in Belgrade. That fact is telling us that there is hope for solving all deeply wrong things in our basketball.