Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Belgrade derby was full of nice not nasty surprises


I attended my first Belgrade derby on Saturday and all the preconceptions I might have had were happily blown away in the brisk Serbian wind.

The fixture is widely regarded as the most fiery and dangerous derby in world football but despite the game almost being a title decider, the sting was taken out of the occasion by Red Star ultras refusing to turn up at Partizan’s stadium.

Religious convictions had told them the game should not be played on Easter Saturday so they boycotted.

So there was no violence whatsoever, but that didn’t stop a huge number of riot police being there.

Do drastic punishments deter hooliganism?


Violence at the Red Star match

A Serbian soccer fan, tried for attempted murder after assaulting a plain-clothes police officer with a burning flare during a first division game last December, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

The verdict has triggered a nationwide debate among the country’s soccer fans over whether Uros Misic, a 20-year old Red Star Belgrade supporter, has been punished too severely or got exactly what he deserved.

Second eastern European Cup final could be the last for a while


leaf blowing

I guess most if not all fans of Manchester United and Chelsea wish the Champions League final was being played a little closer to home.

The decision to waive visa restrictions should have helped a bit but with flight and hotel prices rocketing an awful lot of fans who would have made the trip to Paris, say, are presumably going to stay at home.