The fifth episode transcript
At the time the nation sang the national team’s hymn, larger interests than just wins or qualifications stood behind the decision about the team composition, or who got to play for the national team. This was the general state of things in football in Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, and Serbia and Montenegro. Even today, it did not change much. The association should gain the largest amounts of money through participation of the national team in world and European championships. However, these incomes, in millions, are often put aside due to experiments of the national team’s composition. Large financial interests of individuals lie behind these, with a motto: it is more important to sell a football player than to win a title.
A transfer sale of a football player ranges between several hundreds thousands to tens of millions in euros. In order to achieve better amount in the transfer sale, it is important that the player enters the national team. In this case, various pressures are applied accompanied by an effort to shove in a player, hence a selector most of the time, does not autonomously decide about the team’s composition. At the end, most are surprised by the team’s composition, but no one has ever questioned the background of these suspicious decisions.
Serbian Football Association should control and prevent all misusages, but instead apparently, it participates itself in the malversations. Hence, a loss to the Association in the previous years due to failures of the national team, was not the loss to those who had under control a list of players to be promoted in the national team dress.
In the past few months however, accusations were publicly brought out against the Association for privatizing the national team. So far, the stir-up ended at that point.
Zvezdan Terzić, January 2005: To be a president of Serbian Football Association, a leader of the sport which the country loves so much, it’s a privilege and responsibility for eternity. I am young but experienced enough to have an ambition and knowledge to fulfill your request to return football in Serbia to the position of proud of the sports nation. From this moment on, I ask for your help and I offer you Zvezdan Terzić. We are the teams which must win. The population of 8 million, that’s 8 million fans. We must not let them down. Football is played for them.
Zvezdan Terzić, BA in economy, former president of football club Belgrade, was appointed president of Serbian Football Association by the support of both Red Star and Partizan.
Mladen Stojović, a long term journalist of Danas and Vijesti: Zvezdan Terzić was an excellent football player in football club Belgrade, he didn’t play in the national team, but was really an excellent player, and we if put aside his connections, those associations he had, good relationships, however we define them, with people that could be described as controversial businessmen, he was in a way, it should be acknowledged, a refreshing figure in the Serbian football.
Zvezdan Terzić, since becoming Serbian Football Association president, has emphasized several times he has no connection with his former club. However, the facts speak the opposite. For instance, the majority of players from his former club enter the youth national team, allowing the club to achieve better transfer sale price. Currently, in the Serbian cadet football team, there are eight players from football club Belgrade. Likewise, in the youth national team, there are nine football players from football club Belgrade. The current selector of the youth team, Slobodan Krčmarević is a former player and coach of football club Belgrade.
Dragan Aca Bulić, president of First League Association: This is a very similar situation to the one when Branko Bulatović headed the association, wherein almost all players were of Montenegrin origin, so if we want to make a parallel regarding Montenegrin origin, here mostly, I mean football club Belgrade…I think it’s due to the arbitrariness of president and hence not in the best interest of the Serbian football.
B92: Is this also done in anticipation of the future transfer sales?
Dragan Aca Bulić: Absolutely, that’s the main reason for doing it.
During the presidential term of Zvezdan Terzić, managing board president was Miko Brašnjović, arrested in 2006 as a member of “smash up mafia”. According to Insider’s information, money obtained in players’ transfers went through Brašnjović’s secret accounts abroad but also through the accounts of a company owned by his wife, Svetlana Brašnjović, who was also arrested. In 2006, she was on the wanted list, and one year later she was arrested on the border with Macedonia. Brašnjović was an owner of Eko-product company, a major sponsor to the club for the full 6 years. He was arrested and accused, together with a few entrepreneurs and judges, of abuse of power, forgery and bribery, which brought him tens millions of euros. In June 2006, in his prison cell Brašnjović committed suicide. Nemanja Jolović, a lawyer, also arrested as a member of “smash up mafia”, was appointed a member of executive board to Serbian Football Association after Terzić became a president. Previously, he was a vice president of managerial board in a football club Belgrade. Another interesting fact is that Zvezdan Terzić became a director of football club Belgrade at the suggestion of an assembly president of the football club Belgrade, Momčilo Minić. Minić was a long term director of Pekabeta but claims he has never worked with Eko-product, headed by Miko Brašnjović, who was also a president of the club’s board. Number of football players from the football club Belgrade who transfer to not so small European clubs is increasing every year, especially so since Zvezdan Terzić became the leader of Serbian Football Association. Immediately after he has become a president in the association, the youth team has become a place to promote the players from the football club Belgrade; hence, it appears more than unusual that the club, which performance is rated average in the past years in the national league, provides more national team players than Red Star or Partizan.
Zoran Arsić, former president of Vojvodina Football Association and football referee: I though that Zvezdan Terzić would, as my former colleague and player, who I respect…he led the football club, he had a background, in a sense that…he had a good position to change certain things. However, soon, he drawn into the Serbian football drab, which also showed all of its impotence. He is…he behaves like a Minister of International Affairs and those around them also. They are interested in the national team only.
Since Zvezdan Terzić became the association’s president, the football club Belgrade sold nine football players who previously have played for the national team. Despite, Terzić claimed several times he has no influence on the team’s composition and he is not interested in such issue. At the same time, Serbian Football Association should control all football clubs. However, nor the association controls the clubs nor the state controls the association, hence this allows individuals to do whatever they are pleased.
Snežana Marković-Samardžić, Minister for Sports and Youth: Before, there was a lack of this institutional cooperation because Serbian Football Association did not want to enter that kind of partnership. Now when things are changed, it’s natural we want the cooperation too, because I think it’s in sports best interest. We are planning, jointly, to make programs. If the ministry invests certain assets from the budget in football development and in the association, it’s logical we will initiate a control.
Recently, an agreement was reached wherein the state will provide a location for Serbian Football Association to build “House of Football”, as the state’s responsibility. Namely, in 2006, UEFA approved to donate five and a half million euros to Serbian Football Association for building “House of Football”. According to the UEFA rules, a requirement was that the state provides a building site, by which a certain control would be achieved regarding how the obtained money is spent. However, at that time, the leaders of the association negotiated with Obilić’s president, Svetlana Ražnatović, about buying a football club, Mladi proleter, which changed the name into Mladi Obilić, so that they could use the land and property of the club for construction of “House of Football”. That’s when the problems started.
Until 1999, the owner of the property and Mladi proleter was the Olarevićs family. According to the testimony of the Olarevićs family, in 1999, Željko Ražnatović Arkan, in hey days of his power, decided to expand and to take over in addition to Obilić, the club Mladi proleter as well. Using violence and threats, he forced the Olarevićs to rename and register the club into Maldi Obilić. So, in 1999, Olarević went, accompanied by Arkan’s guys, to Ministry of Sports, headed by Zoran Aranđelović Baki, and renamed the club: the club with all of its property, after 50 years in ownership of the Olarevićs family, became registered anew, from football club Mladi proleter into football club Mladi Obilić. Since then, the family Olarević has tried, helped by the former football club Obilić president Žarko Nikolić, to prove in court procedure the club still belongs to them and not to Svetlana Ražnatović. At one point, in 2004, the Olarevićs managed to rename the club again into its old name and to return it to their family.
Aleksandar Olarević, football club Mladi proleter: In the beginning of March, brother-in-law of Svetlana Ražnatović, Predrag Ocokoljić, appeared here with ten armed men. They all had guns and threatened to kill me: “We will kill everybody. This belongs to Ceca. This is ours…”. Mister Nikolić called the police, and thanks to him I made it alive. On June 18th, Mrs. Ražnatović in person came here with her body guards, and Ocokoljić and Mister Jeftic, who was Obilić’ director. They came in front of my home, my house, a couple of steps in front of my doorway, and she started to curse, to insult me, to threaten me: “You know who’s behind my back, I’ll kill you. This is mine. Željko left this to me, this is…You are stealing this from my orphans”. On top, Ocokoljić jumped and punch me, right on my face with a fist.
Olarević also claims he was a target of an attempted attack five months ago and that Svetlana Ražnatović is behind the attack. He argues that her aim was to again take over the club Mladi proleter, so she can sell it to Serbian Football Association for the purpose of building “House of Football”.
Aleksandar Olarević: It all escalated on October 10th, recently, when four armed men, her guys that I know, two of them I know, two I don’t know, tried to kill me, they fired at me. So, they fired guns, aiming right at me, how they missed me I have no clue. How I managed to stay alive, I really don’t know. Perhaps God saved me…how no one from kids playing football wasn’t hurt, thank God…They fired guns at me and my brother Miodrag and afterwards simply went into their car and drove away. They are arrested, two of those are arrested, two of them…Those who fired shots are not identified.
Svetlana Ražnatović refused several invitations to speak up in Insider, as well as she refused to answer to this and similar accusations. According to Olarević, the state and the football association representatives withdrew from negotiation with Svetlana Ražnatović about purchasing Mladi proleter when they realized, as Olarević said, it was a shady business.
Aleksandar Olarević, football club Mladi proleter: Mr. Terzić, Serbian Football Association president came, together with the entire board. Mr. Clemente was there, Aca Mirković, Govedarica, football player, Mr. Laković, current secretary of the association. The meeting was nice, correct, they were interested what was going on with this here. When I explained that Svetlana Ražnatović had nothing to do with it, that Nikolić, also present, paid for all, that we will show them documentations, papers, that everything is in the court procedure, they were amazed. Terzić told me: “Just half an hour ago, I was at her place, I came straight here from her place, because this is very interesting for “House of Football”. They left astound.
Afterwards, in November 2007, there was a meeting among the representatives of Serbian Football Association, Ministry for Sports and Youth and city of Belgrade about the building of “House of Football”. After the meeting, Terzić said: “We are entering the final phase for location searching. We have a support of political, the city and republic structures. We want a clean situation, clean and precise documentation”.
Snežana Marković-Samardžić, Minister for Sports and Youth: As far as players’ transfer sales, league organization, referees mutual relationships, the association, clubs, we simply do not have any jurisdictions, but I think that associations should have jurisdiction, not the Ministry.
Nevertheless, many facts point out that Serbian Football Association, regardless of its respective president, never controlled for irregularities among football clubs- there were always certain privileged clubs, players or managers. The first influence of market economy into football, but also within the association, is closely connected with Miljan Miljanić’s career. In 1982, when Miljanić was the national team selector on World Cup in Spain, the players protested the decision by Yugoslav Football Association which required them to wear Adidas made shoes. The market influence determined so the failure of the team on this championship. During the 1990’s sanctions, football players were the best export product while Miljan Miljanić headed the association. During his career, he was a player, coach, selector and official. In 1992, he became the association president. He stayed at that position for 8 years. Football people claim he had defended football from politics, but due to his weak health he could not influence much Branko Bulatović’s, secretary general, doings. A number of transfer sales are connected with Miljanić and his Spanish associations, as well as the organization of the tour resulting in “Barcelona” affair. In December 1999, Branko Bulatović, secretary general of Yugoslav Football Association was detained in Barcelona airport because he had a bag with $123.480. The public worldwide was shocked by the fact that the association official tried to transport this much cash to Serbia, while the representatives of the association were puzzled by this reaction, refusing a possibility this was a violation. In 1999, the team played two friendly matches in Spain with the teams of Canary Islands and Catalonia, while Bulatović claimed the money came as an income of the association from this tour and that he was not aware this much cash was not suppose to be carried around.
Lenard Johanson, UEFA president from 1990-2007: But what did the government of Yugoslavia and Serbia do, what did the national association do? You cannot expect from FIFA and UEFA to initiate an investigation. It’s a police matter, government matter, football association matter. I’ve read about this incident, but I know only what was written in newspapers. Just imagine how it would be if we are to listen to every rumor from 53 countries, and then initiate investigations, that would be a complete mess.
Since Zvezdan Terzić, former president of the youth football club Belgrade, became Serbian Football Association president, the youth national team is filled mostly by players from his former club, while managers dealing with transfer sales are generally those in good terms with Terzić.
In general, football clubs cooperate with numerous managers in order to gain wider market, the youth football club Belgrade players, playing also in the national team, are represented almost exclusively by Dražen Podunavac and Falji Ramadani. Dražen Podunavac is an exclusive manager of the club Belgrade, known in public as “Terzić’s man of trust”. After Terzić came to the football club Belgrade, Podunavac was also a player for this club. He continued his career in the German second league and came back to Serbia as a representative of Berlin company “Sports management”. According to media reports, he obtained FIFA manager license after passing an exam in Serbian Football Association. His career as a manager is closely connected with the players of football club Belgrade, for in 2006 he was at the same time the club’s sports director. As a representative of the Berlin company, and later director of the club Belgrade, Podunavac participated in transfers of almost all the players who were promoted in the youth team. According to Insider information, a system bringing a lot of money functions in this way: young football players with the potential to enter the national team are firstly offered a transfer to the football club Belgrade. If a player refuses this offer, he has almost no chances of playing in the national team. This has happened to Predrag Pavlović from Kruševac team Napredak. According to Dragiša Binić statement to Insider, Pavlović was explicitly told he will play in the team only if he transfers to the youth club Belgrade. Pavlović refused the offer and today he indeed does not play for the national team, despite he had played well for the youth team. It is interesting that Podunavac and Ramadani were credited for Javier Clemente appointment as a selector of the national team. Ramadani also mediated in appointing Jirgen Reber as a coach in Partizan; according to media, Reber used his coach position to promote his manager in front of the Partizan players.
Serbian Football Association has a responsibility to control all transfer sales and all irregularities within football clubs. This however, is not the case. It even appears that the entire mechanism is put forward in order to protect financial interests of certain clubs. This is illustrated by Aleksandar Kolarov transfer from the youth football club Belgrade to Italian Lacio. This transfer sale has an interesting history. Namely, long term president of the youth football club Belgrade was Zvezdan Terzić, at present serving as Serbian Football Association president. The association, headed by Terzić, under the circumstances under investigation, transferred the player Kolarev from Čukarički to the youth football club Belgrade; the player’s following matches in the national team directly imply a better sale in 2007. The key role in the association was played by Committee for club verification and registration, led by Drakče Dimitrijević, a member of managerial board of the youth football club Belgrade and lawyer whose office is located in the club’s stadium in Karaburma. It all begun with a peculiar request by Aleksandar Kolarev. He had a valid contract with Čukarički until January 2007. Kolarev, however, in January 2006, asked from Čukarički for a withdraw form, with a claim his contract expired. Interestingly, a fax with this request arrived at the address of Čukarički sent from the youth football club Belgrade.
Aleksandar Mihajlović, football club Čukarički Stankom: We’ve addressed in several occasions both youth football club Belgrade and Terzić, to discuss and make arrangement, since we at some point sent our official offer to the youth football club Belgrade. We asked then, for he was already selected for the youth team, he was on the list, a candidate. We asked for some 300.000 euros, which at that time and for a player of his kind was not too much money… If you want that much, if you do foolish things, if you rap and rend a player like that, let’s all of us sit and discuss things further. No! We were, as you can see from the official documentation provided, you’ll see letters we sent to the youth football club Belgrade and president Terzić, asking to see…But, a meeting regarding Kolarev was never organized, with president Terzić or people from the youth football club Belgrade, that is, with Vlada Bulatović.
Even though this story became known to the public, the officials of the youth football club Belgrade sold, in summer of 2007, the player Kolarev to Roman Lacio for 800.000 euros. The price was increased due to the player’s promotion, while he was still playing for the youth football club Belgrade, as a member of the youth national team, into the major talent in youth European championship in Holland. While he was playing for Čukarički, Kolarev manager was Zoran Stojadinović. However, according to Insider information, before the sale, Kolarev already, playing for the youth football club Belgrade, was put under a lot of pressure to change his manager too. So, Kolarev, before the match with Italy, in a hotel room, signed a contract regulating his transfer through an Italian manager Sergio Berti. Dražen Podunavac, as Insider found out, was also present, a manager who works closely with Serbian Football Association president, Zvezdan Terzić. All participants in this event refused to discuss the matter in Insider. Zoran Stojadinović also didn’t want to discuss the Kolarev case. In the meantime, all appeals filed by Čukarički were rejected in emergency procedures by Serbian Football Association. Even more so, when Aleksandar Mihajlović, the football club Čukarički president, publicly proclaimed his player was stolen, Serbian Football Association decided to punish him by a year long injunction from his function.
Aleksandar Mihajlović, football club Čukarički Stankom: I was punished for “verbal delict” according to Tito’s law. They couldn’t find anything else, so they punished me for verbal delict. Such law in Serbia is not in effect and does not exist anymore. So, if someone feels offended and considers I told a lie, there are regular courts, regular procedure. But to punish someone…This was done so that I keep my mouth shut.
Čukarički filed criminal charges against the officials from Serbian Football Association, Belgrade Football Association and the youth football club Belgrade. The case is in front of II County Prosecution, with investigation in procedure. Interestingly, according to Insider information, Zvezdan Terzić, Serbian Football Association president and former director of the youth football club Belgrade, makes frequent visitations to Republic Public Prosecution to complain about interrogations of the accused football officials.
Dragomir Tanović, international football referee and inspector for industrial criminal: Football Association of the former Yugoslavia, then Serbia and Montenegro, and finally Serbian association, always considered itself a protected institution. That’s not true. They considered themselves to be untouchable, a sports organization. People working inside the football association got mixed up from the simple reason: they think as a sports institution they are not obliged to respond to the Serbian Criminal Law.
Dragomir Tanović, football referee, was punished last year by the order of Serbian Football Association with a year long ban of practicing his referee activities because he publicly accused the association and its officials of forgery and criminal activity. Namely, each year, Serbian Football Association makes a list of referees for international matches and sends that list to FIFA and UEFA. At a meeting of Serbian Football Association managerial board, referees rank was determined, wherein Tanovic was the first one to referee at international matches. However, after the meeting, the list was changed over night, hence Tanovic fell on the 5th out of possible 6places, diminishing so his chances to participate at all. FIFA has the right to reduce the number of referees from every association by leaving out those at the bottom of the list. Tanovic claims the rank for FIFA referee list was changed by Zdravko Jokić, a head of referee organization in Serbian Football Association.
Dragomir Tanović, international football referee and inspector for industrial criminal: Jokić called me in July 2006, just before the commence of the new championship, the first Serbian championship and told me that I was at that moment at the top of the referee list. He told me that I was the only referee who is capable of doing something, more than any other referees on international scene, and he said it would be good if I accept his input regarding protection, that is, he offered to be my manager, a kind of. Of course, I wasn’t ready for this kind of cooperation.
B92: And what is assumed by this cooperation?
Dragomir Tanović: Well, such cooperation would probably assume some behind the scene dealings, that is, some deals which are not in the sports character.
B92: Such as match-fixing?
Dragomir Tanović: I don’t want to go into details, but knowing Jokić, who knows? I didn’t want to engage in dealing not connected to sports and that means I will go to the end, even if my life was at stake.
B92: At that moment, when you announced this, you received threats, that is, you got a threatening letter including threats of murder?
Dragomir Tanović: Yes.
B92: Did you discover who had threatened you?
Dragomir Tanović: Firstly, I received a letter, addressed to Subotica Football Association, by an anonymous sender. So, the letter reminded me of an envelope I got while I was refereeing a match in Hungary, for the Hungarian champion. Hence, I suspected who is behind it, by the handwriting; I called an expert, a graphologist to come to Belgrade, giving him the entire documentation. The man did all that was necessary and he determined for surely it was the same handwriting.
B92: And whose handwriting was that?
Dragomir Tanović: That was the handwriting of certain individual from Serbian Football Association, from international department, and this will be proven during the investigation. Hence, we will reveal this person’s name and surname, and I know now who wrote it, but the investigation is going on.
Excerpt from the letter addressed to football referee Dragomir Tanović: “What do you want, you stinky thief, you cop? You want to go to Europe by force, let Toma Karadžić screw you, the major thief in football after Miljanić and Bulatović. What do you want, you sick man, to go to Europe by force? Well, you cannot do what’re pleased anymore. You are a thief. Why weren’t you killed at raft-restaurants in Belgrade, you fagot and thief! You are a piece of shit, with no balls and low life. You should be taken out of the list in our league, since the list should contain good and honest referees. Do not curse Zdravko Jokić for he has more merits than you do in our football, more than you, you stupid man and dumb cop. You are waiting for a win, a response from UEFA? So what are you thinking, you piece of shit? Understand that the football fans do not want you. No one needs a coward, hence shut up, you Vojvodina’s, Subotica’s dog. You will not get back to the list, you jerk, is that clear!!”
Dragomir Tanović: After this letter, I got an information from a colleague of mine, he works with me, I am an inspector for industrial criminal in Police Administration in Subotica, the colleague told me he got this information that a certain person who is at that moment serving jail time….
B92: In jail?
Dragomir Tanović: In jail, yes. That person had a task to kill me, even more so, the person bragged about it openly within jail walls, and I informed my superiors about it, in Police Administration in Subotica, and they initiated an official investigation. They found out who made these threats, hence that was done.
B92: Are you trying to say that the person was supposed to be released from prison solely in order to kill you?
Dragomir Tanović: That’s right. That’s the information I got. And that’s how I…
B92: But how could a convicted person serving jail time leave prison just like that, I assume that behind it there must be the state or at least some institution?
Dragomir Tanović: It doesn’t have to be.
B92: Does this mean…
Dragomir Tanović: No. It depends why a person is sentenced to jail time. So, they have like, when serving in the army, free weekends. So, that person was supposed to have a free weekend, to get out of jail and to commit a crime assuming he will be a perpetrator and assassin…
B92: Did you find out how was behind it?
Dragomir Tanović: I’m not sure, but can only guess.
B92: Well, who?
Dragomir Tanović: The investigation is still on-going.
Tanović claims the referee organization in Serbian Football Association has eliminated all football referees who are at the same time employed in Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs from the list.
Dragomir Tanović: Why? It’s very clear. We work inside Ministry of Internal Affairs, which implies no one can manipulate with us nor can order us what to do, or how to perform tasks. Simply, as the members of police, we bothered the top of this referee organization and we were put away. Zvezdan Terzić, Serbian Football Association president is either uninformed or does not want to be informed about what is going on within the referee organization.
In December last year, Serbian daily journals regularly published stories about the role of Zvezdan Terzić in negative events in football, connecting him with Brano Micunović, former owner of a football club Sutjeska, designated by media as someone who runs the football mafia. Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs, in the document Insider obtained, states that Brano Micunović is the head of Montenegro mafia. At the end of last year, when the public has heard the stories about the football mafia, Serbian Football Association executive board held a closed meeting. Insider managed to obtain audio recording of the meeting, wherein the members discussed, among other things, the stories about football mafia. Zvezdan Terzić, Serbian Football Association president addressed the members of executive board regarding the subject.
Excerpts from the exclusive audio recordings from Serbian Football Association executive board meeting, Zvezdan Terzić, November 2007: For three years, we have pointed out about the problems in football, the situation in our football is catastrophic due to the negative mafia image, ruined stadiums and we also pointed out we cannot go any forward until we draw the line. For three years, we proved we want good things and it resulted in that Boris Tadić went with us to see the match in Helsinki, in Lisbon, that Koštunica visited all the national team players. The state for the first time, included us in the budget of one million euros, Minister of Sports came to see us, the state had said everything what was necessary for House of Football, it will provide the location and plot because they have seen something good was happening. But we came to the point that in the last 10 days we make so negative image that the state has said to police “arrest the clique”.
The police is here, at Serbian Football Association, for the past two days. What for? Because we screwed it up. It started with Siniša Mihajlović, who turned out be an instrument of someone’s personal interests, from Kosanović’s part.
Last November, Siniša Mihajlović publicly declared: “Listen, the majority of football players complained to me that Terzić pushes his players into the national team, however, the players won’t say it publicly, which dos not imply it is not true. I guarantee that this is true, and Terzić knows this too. I dare him to admit so, for this is known to the entire Serbia, but a lot of people work for and are paid by Serbian Football Association hence they are enforced to make compromises. I would probably do the same if I were dependent of Terzić”.
Zvezdan Terzić replied to these accusations: “I swear on my children I never had an influence on the national team composition. For example, a question is raised who called Ivan Stevanović into the team, to play the last match with Kazakhstan, just because he is from the football club Belgrade, but no one asks who called Kačar, Despotović, Tutorić, Anđelković. If they wanted to please me, Babović would play. Besides, all the players in the national team already have contracts with foreign clubs. Why then it would be in my interest to promote anyone from them?”
Stefan Babović however was on Clemente’s list for the match against Kazakhstan. Previously, he was a standard young national team player. A month ago, he signed for Nantes, France, while the youth football club Belgrade earned 3 million euros from this transfer. In August 2006, by a peculiar transfer, Babović left Partizan to play in the youth football club Belgrade without compensation. There was no place for him in the team of Miodrag Ješić, so a solution was found in his transfer to the youth football club Belgrade. Stefan Babović is a son of Milija Babović, a financier of the youth football club Belgrade and in godparenting ties connected with Zvezdan Terzić.
Excerpts from the exclusive audio recordings from the executive board meeting, Zvezdan Terzić, November 2007: What happened has happened and I’ ashamed of it and this is all because of Tole, Mihajlović and Kosanović, and it’s just a matter of time when other players will show up, but don’t do it through media. We have an assembly made of 80 members and that’s what makes football Serbia, they should come here and say: “Terzić, you thief, you did this and that”. I’ve been working without a salary for the past three years. Therefore, I beg you, we are under pressure from all sides, political, industrial, police. Someone maybe likes this stirred up situation, I don’t want to go into analysis now, who knows what will happen with Kosovo, therefore I beg you to solve everything here.
It is a public secret that within the Serbian football, for years, matches are being fixed, double contracts are made in transfers, players are blackmailed in order to enter the national team. At the same time, no one controls these. Serbian Football Association should have a control over the clubs, and it should report every irregularity to the authorized institutions. This however, is not the case. Both Serbian Football Association and First League Association claim they do have a right to control, hence this is the way where everybody does what he is pleased to in football without any legal consequences. For instance, in Italy, the football association has a very important role in discovering possible irregularities. The representatives of the authorized institutions in Italy agreed to discuss for Insider the events leading to a scandal from two years ago, which stirred up the Italian but also European football.
Namely, two years ago, Italian and European footballs were shaken by a scandal involving Juventus, one of the most successful Italian football clubs. A strong influence of organized criminal was discovered within the Italian football, similar in many ways to the system in Serbia. Juventus, the club which won the championship that year, was a part of the system wherein more than 30 matches were fixed in the period of three years.
Marco Mensurati, journalist of La Repubblica: Calciopoli was an earthquake which turned everything upside down. A discovery was made, which revealed a system of control within the Italian football. In this system, the dominant position was held by Juventus and the club’s general director Luciano Moggi, who has managed in his two decades long career, to establish a network of political and institutional protection, so to control everything what was happening in Italian football.
Paolo Nicoletti, assistant to investigation commissioner of Italian football association, 2006: The scandal was serious, widespread. A lot of people were involved, the public prosecutor initiated investigation against all of them. Some of them were officials of judges association and top level managers of major clubs and in some ways, referees from the sports justice were also involved.
Luciano Moggi, the leading figure in Juventus, had under control the referee organization of the football association, a selector of the national team, transfers for more than 200 players, and TV journalists who reported the way he wished so.
Marco Mensurati, journalist of La Repubblica: That organization had three supporting pillars. The first one was political-institutional, that is, by doing various kinds of favors to politicians, ranging from free tickets to paid vacations and special favors regarding football clubs owned by politicians. Moggi managed to establish a protection of the system at the institution level. The second pillar was economic-financial since the system created something called Geoworld company for intermediation in sports and the organization, through this company, controlled every movement at the football market. The third is a technical pillar. Through controlling the entire environment, the organization managed to determine referees and to decide who loses and who wins on each match, or at least at the level of championship. They used the system of caution, because if a player gets a caution two times in a row, he will not play in the third match, and in this way, all the clubs which were suppose to lose a match got a number of cautions and went to the next match in decimated composition.
The Moggi’s system was discovered by tapping his phone conversations. You will now hear the parts of recorded conversations, based on the transcripts of the tap phone conversations.
Italian authorized institutions tapped the phone of Luciano Moggi, a general manager of Juventus. Moggi managed to obtain referees by his choice for Juventus matches, by bribing a president of commission for referees in the football association, Pierluigi Pairetto. In one of the conversations, they negotiated referees for Juventus several coming games.
Excerpts from the tapped phone conversations:
Moggi: For Messina, send me Consolo and Batagglia.
Pairetto: Already done.
Moggi: And who will you send?
Pairetto: I think Consolo and Batagglia.
Moggi: And for Cassaro?
Moggi: And for Livorno Rocchii?
Pairetto: Yes, for Livorno, Rocchi.
Moggi: And for Trofeo, Berlusconi, against Milan, Pierri, please.
Pairetto: That we still haven’t decide. .
Moggi: You will do it?
Pairetto: OK. We’ll do it later.
The referee in the following match Milan-Juventus in 2004 was Pierri, and Juventus won with 1:0. As a reward, the president of commission for referees was awarded with a Maserati model car. Moggi used to threat certain Italian football players, telling them they have to play how he wants since this was the only way leading into the national team. Moggi’s son Alessandro led the manager organization Geoworld and from this position negotiated with Lacio’s president about buying a player, Fabricio Nicoli. Moggi instructed his son what to tell to the Lacio president.
Excerpts from hacked phone conversations:
Moggi: I’ve asked Claudio Lotito for 10 millions and he said five, is that so? You have to say to him: listen, I can persuade my father to do it for 7.5 million. Tell him some stories for the beginning.
Alessandro Moggi: OK.
Immediately after, Moggi called Nicoli’s friend.
Moggi: Tell him to be less dumb, otherwise I will not let him play in the national team. Or he can get my opinion and play for the national team.
At that time, Marcello Lippi was the coach of the Italian national team. Lippi used to work for Juventus for a long time, while Moggi was the leading man in the club. The entire Moggi’s mechanism was completed when it was discovered he had also created sports reports on the most popular television programs. A phone conversation was hacked between Moggi and the most famous sports journalist, Fabio Baldas. Baldas, in his weekly show, commented on football games and refereeing. Baldas and Moggi discussed before every show what to present as positive or negative.
Excerpts from hacked phone conversations:
Baldas: How are you?
Moggi: All right.
Baldas: Listen Luciano, there isn’t much today, just Rodomonti. Is it OK if he turns bad, that is, if you agree or course?
Moggi: Oh, of course.
Baldas: And then? There is always Sienna, Fiorentina.
Moggi: Was there a penal?
Baldas: Damn it, there was a penal. And there’s Rosetti, you know the guy, but only if we show him what we are going to do.
Moggi: No, no, leave him alone, do not talk at all about the match in Sienna.
Baldas: OK. If I need I favor, will you help me?
Moggi: No problem.
After the transcripts became public, the whole management of Juventus, along with Moggi, resigned. In addition, the president and vice president of Italian Football Association, as well s the journalist who reported by Moggi’s orders also resigned. Giancarlo Abete, the current president of Italian Football Association, comments in Insider that after the Calciopoli scandal, the football organization underwent many changes. Today, the association firmly controls the clubs reporting about every irregularity to the authorized state institutions. Within this association, justice system is well elaborated and active.
Giancarlo Abete, president of Italian Football Association: We are under obligation to report all situations, and furthermore, there is a constant connection between our sports jurisdictional offices and regular jurisdictional offices in cases involving felony. That’s how it was in the case of phone hacking, resulting in the denouement in May and June 2006, and that’s how it is today, since there are many events which could be solved within the sports jurisdictional system, as well as those other ones, of criminal character. Of course, their normative characters differ. Sports jurisdictional system is important since it can react in timely manner.
In contrast with Serbian Football Association, which does not control football clubs activities or convoke meetings, in Italy, due to the current situation in football, the Italian football association brought the convictions against the clubs which violated the regulation even before this was done by the regular courts.
Giancarlo Abete: We have, as sports jurisdictional officers, as football people, made decisions regarding the events media called “Calciopoli”. Some clubs were degraded into a lower category, championships were played, and those clubs won the championships and came back to the higher category. So, there were important events which changed the start ranking in the champion league.
Juventus, by the decision of the association, was punished by detraction of the title and the club was degraded into the second league. Lacio, Fiorentina and Milan were punished also, but have stayed in the first league. They started the next season with several points less than the other clubs. Luciano Moggi was banned from football activities for the next five years.
In Serbia, the public found out about many things known for years, surrounded by conspiracy of silence. One of the examples is football match fixing by the formula “three for three”, wherein a host always wins and hence all clubs ensured a place in the league, corresponding with larger income for the clubs. Even though match fixing is a felony, the authorized institutions, at least for now, have done nothing regarding the rumors known to the public. In one of the Insider previous episodes, Dragan Aca Bulić, president of First league Association, claimed that the match between Sutjeska and youth football club Belgrade, headed then by Zvezdan Terzić, was fixed. Branko Bulatović, the then president of Yugoslav Football Association, refused to register that match in 2004. Several days later, he was killed and the match was registered as regular one. Zvezdan Terzić was publicly charged, along with his club, which supposedly played a fixed match with Obilić, headed by Svetlana Ražnatović. These accusations were put forward by Dragan Aca Bulić, president of First league Association. This association is an integral part of the Serbian Football Association. Bulić however says, that even though he has a negative image in the public, he is not afraid of a possible investigation, since as he emphasizes, he did everything correctly in football.
Dragan Aca Bulić, president of the Serbian First League Association: I am not afraid, I’ve said so, for I’ve been carrying my father’s burden my entire life, I’m not stupid, I knew a day would come when someone will point a finger on me and ask me, and that’s why I tried so hard to do all of my work in football the way I think it should be, in a correct manner. I think this is the reason I’ve became a president of the league’s association. I think that people appreciate me for these reasons.
B92: At one point, you brought together- let’s say incompatible functions. You were the owner of two clubs, Železnik and Radnički Novi Belgrade, president of Serbian First League Association and the owner of the largest betting place, Lav.
Dragan Aca Bulić, president of Serbian First League Association: Yes. I also had a football club Dorćol. So that makes three clubs.
B92: At one point, due to all of your functions, is it true that even UEFA intervened due to the conflict of interest?
Dragan Aca Bulić, president of Serbian First League Association: Well. There were some stories around it. I think the stories came from Serbian Football Association because they wanted to remove me from the presidency in First League Association, for at the end, you have today large clubs carrying commercial of the major world betting places, but no one questions that. The only role in betting places…First, let me tell you I have nothing to do with those betting places, those are run by my mother. I don’t even know how to make a quota. I was never interested in such thing. The only connection of myself, Lav betting places and football in Serbia was like 5-6 years ago, when everybody talked about how our league is irregular, that matches are being fixed using “three for three”, that the results are fixed, well, in that moment I put our league on the list and said: OK, people, if this is so, here, take money. Meaning, bet if you already know the results, take money and from that day on, there is the league on our lists, even other betting places accepted it here and abroad, and you can bet today on our league even abroad, which is not the case with the surrounding leagues of the former Yugoslavia.
B92: And when you put for the first time our…
Dragan Aca Bulić: The first time it was, I am not sure when, but I think during the first or second year of my presidency.
B92: And you are sure there were no fixed matches, because based on everything, this was the common practice?
Dragan Aca Bulić: So, who ever had any information and knowledge that a match is being fixed, could come and bet and so take money out of it.
B92: Well, you could have known, for example?
Dragan Aca Bulić: Well, if I knew, I wouldn’t put.
B92: Wait, how come you wouldn’t put, if you knew then you would have reasons to put. Like, for instance, a match between the youth football club Belgrade and for example, Železnik, you know it’s a fixed match, and that Železnik will win, or Belgrade, so you bet on it.
Dragan Aca Bulić: yes, but you are telling this like if both the football club Belgrade and I knew about it, hence based on that it is made…We even had in the football association at some point, while the deceased Bata was still alive, we gathered in the association, so we hand written on paper, guessing the scores and believe me, at that time they all were so surprised how much they actually did not know the Serbian football.
B92: But betting places, globally, are the major business, due to match fixing and everything, and that’s where money exchange turnover is the largest.
Dragan Aca Bulić: OK, I’m just trying to explain. It is true what you’re saying. Malaysia, China and some other large areas, where there is huge money exchange turnover, with large populations. Here, in Serbia, the ration is not that big and there’s not that much money in betting places, so there’s not so much of an interest to bet in the first place.
B92: Your name is mentioned often related to the subject of criminal and sports, some see you as the man who brought in a lot of body guards and simply see you in a negative context.
Dragan Aca Bulić: Well, I can understand people and I consider we do have those security guards with a good reason, I have my security since the day my father was killed. I don’t know who, or what, or what for or if they will try to kill me too. I don’t understand perhaps some other people, in football, having security guards, but not having situation like mine is. I don’t employ my security for clubs, but due to these reasons I told you about and that’s how it is.
At the time of Serbian Football Association board meetings, several tens of heavily armed men are always present, as security to various football officials. No one however, questions their presence at the board meetings. Interestingly, Zvezdan Terzić, president of the association, was detained due to illegal gun carrying. In December 2006, a police patrol stopped a jeep with Zvezdan Terzić and two of his body guards. During a routine control, police found a gun CZ 99 in the car. It turned out Terzić had a permit to own but not to carry a gun around. The police brought him to the police station in Palilula municipality. After fifteen minutes, Terzić walked away. “The policemen were correct, I did not have any trouble with them, I was brought to the station, and they made a report about the gun”, said Terzić for Večernje Novosti. According to Terzić, police officers explained to him he has the right to keep a gun at his home but if he carries it in his car, the gun has to be put apart in pieces. It remains unclear if a criminal charge was filed at all against Zvezdan Terzić for illegal gun carrying.
Dragomir Tanović, international football referee and inspector for industrial criminal: Just imagine five or six clubs’ presidents, coming with their five-six body guards, how much weapon there is? What for? Is that a sport?
Zoran Arsić, former president of Vojvodina Football Association and football referee: It is a little inappropriate, that in this state solely, when there is a meeting of the executive board, there are more people outside, the body guards, than the members of the executive board. In which other state you have the same situation, in which state people run football the way it is being run in Serbia? Why football needs it?
Excerpt from the denunciation to Special Prosecution Office, Jun 2007: Serbian Football Association is doing money-laundering and this is evident by the payments to the cover-up company Algoplanet trade d.o.o from New Belgrade, in charge is Bogoljub Veličković. The association made payments in 2006 to this company; later on the tax police deprived the company of identification number. These are only small facts happening within Serbian Football Association. By employing serious and meticulous investigations of payments and withdrawal one would come up to amazing data and discoveries, which would in turn describe the real state of affairs in the association and justification, that is, an interest of well known criminal gangs to invest in football while at the same time not knowing how many players are in the field. What happened with the investigation after Branko Bulatović’s murder? The man was arrested with a bag full of foreign currency at an airport, obtained from the players’ transfer sales, but the investigation was called off suddenly. This is organized criminal, happening at present within Serbian Football Association, players are being sold, the players who are private possession of certain people of dubious morality. Real amounts obtained in transfers are never shown. These and this kind of people influence selectors and others, in order for their players to play in the national team, with money as the only underlying interest. Play the movie again, and ask yourself why so many people from football were killed?