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Columnist Zoran Pavic: Vokrri (Danas)

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By Zoran Pavic

No, it is not true that the president of the Football Federation of Kosovo banned a football game of humanitarian character in Gracanica between the same club and the Red Star from Belgrade, although he had given himself an important role in the past days.

First of all because it sounds more than crazy that any soccer functionary forbids an assembly, either in the Balkans or even in Kosovo. Especially because of the arguments he has for the ban.

Fadil Vokrri stated, namely, that “two years they have given permission for the match”, but this year they did not “because in the last game there were things that do not belong to the sport”. “Then there were offensive messages, and that’s why we rejected Red Star’s request. Also, we have informed UEFA that there will be no match,” said Vokrri for the local Koha ditore. Vokrri did not say out this, but Kosovo media did: on the previous two guestings of the Red Star in Gracanica from the stands was chanted “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” and the “God of Justice” anthem was intonated. At the Sport Center “Dragan Dzajic” in Gracanica and Serbian flags flaunted. On the other hand, Mayor of Gracanica Srdjan Popovic sent an open letter to embassies in Pristina, the OSCE and UEFA on the “decision of the Football Federation of Kosovo”.

Paradoxically, but indeed, both sides ”agree” that  the Kosovo Football Federation “gives the permission”, and it is quite clear that the statement of Vokrri was addressed to Belgrade, and not to Gracanica, that this was a clear signal for the football players of Red Star not to start their trip, because they won’t enter Kosovo that day. What for Vokrri, in fact for the Kosovo authorities, is “offensive” for the organizers of the match and the plebes there, is completely ”normal” – as “spokesman” Vokrri thinks that the intonation of the “foreign” anthem is a political provocation, on the other hand, in Gracanica, they can consider themselves citizens of Serbia and point out the symbols of their state. The problem for these others is “only” in the fact that the first in the singing that has nothing to do with sports have the final say: decision on what on the territory, whether others consider it country or not, is happening, and who can come there.

And that is why it is more than hypocritical the astonishment of the Serbian side and  the Albanian condescension. It is dangerous if it is not clear to some that the Kosovo authorities can prohibit anyone from Serbia to enter, even the highest state officials when it seems convenient, why not to the footballers too. On the other hand, Vokrri’s job is more to make stadiums in Kosovo not look like ruins from the 19th century, than to inform UEFA about the ban on the ceremony in Gracanica.

And yes: the money from the tickets sold was to be donated to the Gynecology Clinic in Gracanica, the Department of Pediatrics. This has remained in the background, while one showed patriotism and the other muscles.

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