Partizan want derby behind closed doors

BELGRADE - Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade want Saturday's city derby at Red Star played behind closed doors or under tight security measures.

"Given the situation in the last 10 days or so we maintain the safest option would be to play the derby behind closed doors," Partizan president Dragan Djuric told Belgrade's B92 television on Tuesday.

"We want the match to go ahead but if it is to be played with fans present in the stadium we want written guarantees from Red Star, the Serbian FA and police that there will be water-tight security.

"If there was to be a repeat of the Genoa riots, Serbian sport would have a serious problem because the whole of Europe will be watching," said Djuric, referring to the national team's abandoned Euro 2012 qualifier in Italy last week.

Violence erupted in Genoa when Red Star fans attacked Serbia's team bus and in particular goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic, one of their former players who joined Partizan on loan from Sporting Lisbon in August.


Since he joined Partizan, Stojkovic has been targeted by diehard Red Star fans.

"As Partizan's president I will not allow a situation in which our players can be lynched," said Djuric ahead of his team's Champions League Group H match at Portuguese rivals Sporting Braga later on Tuesday.

"Serbian soccer will suffer disastrous consequences if any trouble breaks out at the derby."

Representatives of Partizan, Red Star, the Serbian FA and police are to meet on Wednesday to hammer our a security plan.

Serbian soccer has been rife with violence in the past 20 years and fixtures between Partizan and Red Star have been at the forefront, with fan clashes resulting in several deaths and thousands of serious injuries.

Red Star lead the 16-team first division with 22 points from eight matches, three ahead of second-placed Partizan who have won a record three league titles in a row.