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Contrasting fortunes across top flight

Published: Tuesday 12 July 2005, 10.00CET
Monthly review: Two significant moves and financial problems have stood out in Serbia and Montenegro. features

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Published: Tuesday 12 July 2005, 10.00CET

Contrasting fortunes across top flight

Monthly review: Two significant moves and financial problems have stood out in Serbia and Montenegro.
By Aleksandar Bošković

Two significant transfers and numerous financial problems have marked the last four weeks of summer activity in Serbia and Montenegro.

U21 stars
The 2005/06 season is expected to be dominated by UEFA Champions League participants FK Partizan and UEFA Cup contenders FK Crvena Zvezda. They have each snapped up a player from the country's Under-21 team. Midfielder Marko Lomić has joined Partizan from cup winners FK Železnik while Crvena Zvezda, who have just appointed Dragan Stojkovic as president, have landed FK Buducnost Podgorica forward Milan Purović.

Club merger
Things are less positive for the other Prva Liga sides with Železnik a good case in point. Club president Dragan Bulić could not lead his team into the UEFA Cup and there was a question mark over their ability to enter the domestic league. However, Bulić found a solution by merging the club with Belgrade-based fifth division outfit FK Voždovac and they will play under that name in the coming campaign.

Borac reprieve
FK Radnicki Novi Beograd also had difficulties and have been forced to renounce their top-flight status. The Football Association of Serbia and Montenegro (FSSCG) has moved them to the third division and they will be replaced by FK Borac Čačak, the club relegated at the end of last term. Other sides may also have problems over their Prva Liga eligibility with the issuing of new licences on 15 July a key date in the calendar.

Emergency meeting
Only five teams have so far fulfilled UEFA's licensing conditions in Serbia and Montenegro – Partizan, Crvena Zvezda, OFK Beograd, FK Smederevo and Buducnost. This triggered an emergency meeting of FSSCG officials with the association distributing €50,000 to each club to help their situation.

Dozen wanted
The federation is also considering several proposals made by the sides. The main one is that the league should be cut from 16 to 12 teams from the 2006/07 season to increase the quality. This would mean six clubs being relegated at the end of the upcoming campaign, with the ninth and tenth-placed sides competing in promotion/relegation play-offs.

August start
A name change has also been suggested from Prva Liga to Super Liga, with the current title being used instead for the second tier in Serbia and Montenegro. While these are considered, clubs will continue to prepare for the start of the season on 6 August.

Last updated: 12/07/05 17.23CET

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