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Železnik’s European dream dies

Published: Wednesday 15 June 2005, 9.06CET
Monthly review: Money problems force Serbo-Montenegrin Cup winners FK Železnik to withdraw from the UEFA Cup.

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Published: Wednesday 15 June 2005, 9.06CET

Železnik’s European dream dies

Monthly review: Money problems force Serbo-Montenegrin Cup winners FK Železnik to withdraw from the UEFA Cup.
By Aleksandar Boškovic

Having already won their 19th First League title, FK Partizan have become only the second team in the country's history to finish the season without losing a league game.

Rare feat
Vladimir Vermezovic's men ended the campaign with a resounding 7-0 home win against bottom club FK Hajduk Beograd and a 2-2 draw at FK Cukaricki, to equal HNK Hajduk Split's achievement of 1950 of lasting the season unbeaten. Partizan won 25 of their 30 matches, scoring 81 goals and conceding just 20.

Železnik landmark
Second-placed FK Crvena Zvezda, who finished six points adrift, suffered further agony after losing the Serbo-Montenegrin Cup final to FK Železnik. Dejan Radjenovic struck an added-time winner to give Cedomir Djoincevic's team a first-ever trophy and place in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round.

Joy to despair
However, days after Železnik's historic feat, the club were in turmoil following the resignation of president Dragan Bulic as the ongoing financial problems in the country rumble on. Similar scenarios also caused Dragan Džajic to resign his presidential position at Crvena Zvezda, while MB Pivare have withdrawn their long-term sponsorship of FK Hajduk Kula.

European withdrawal
With finances tight, Železnik have been forced to renounce their UEFA Cup berth as they cannot afford the travelling costs. OFK Beograd will replace the Belgrade club after finishing fourth in the table, to join Crvena Zvezda and third-placed FK Zeta in the competition. Železnik are even considering dropping out of the top flight because of their fiscal constraints, with FK Borak Cacak the likely candidates to succeed them.

Top-flight newcomers
FK Buducnost Banatski Dvor, FK Javor Ivanjica, FK Rad and FK Jedinstvo Bijelo Polje will be the Prva Liga newcomers in 2005/06 after winning promotion. That quartet replace FK Borac, Cukaricki, FK Sutjeska and Hajduk who suffered relegation.

Last updated: 15/06/05 17.03CET

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