Serbian “Red Star” made an official statement about the events that took place during the match of the 21st round of the Euroleague against “Zalgiris” in Lithuania (98: 103 OT).
Crvena Zvezda, as a sports club and a representative of the Republic of Serbia, follows the official position of our country on the conflict in Ukraine. In official communication with the Euroleague and Zalgiris a few days before the match in Lithuania, it was clearly stated that politicization would be banned and no one would hold a banner in the colors of any country, as it would make us participants in manipulating and politicizing humanistic slogans.
Unfortunately, our request not to keep a banner that is not neutral was not granted (perhaps under pressure), and everything after that was a political spectacle, not a sport, and seriously violated the basic principles of the Euroleague and basketball!
“Red Star” can not interpret the chanting of “Fuck you Serbia”, the attack on our fans and their expulsion just because they held the flag of our country, the removal of the flag of the Republic of Serbia, which is a sovereign state, hoisting the NATO flag (which in our the country due to known reasons and NATO aggression is a provocation) and chanting the slogan “Glory to Ukraine”, which in our country has a completely different historical color and meaning!
Should we ask ourselves today, in 2022, why in 1999, during the NATO aggression and the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and children, when the Zalgiris basketball players won this tournament, they did not carry the banner “Stop the aggression” against Yugoslavia “?
After yesterday’s events, can Crvena Zvezda rightly demand that all participants in the Belgrade match carry the banner “Kosovo is Serbia” in order to further internationalize the problem of trying to seize our southern province and 17 percent of the territory of the Republic of Serbia?
“Red Star” has always tried to be a good host for visiting clubs and protect them from any politicization, as well as promote peace, which we confirmed in several matches since the conflict in Ukraine, hanging banners with anti-war messages.
That is why we now have the full moral expectation of an immediate response from the Euroleague, the initiation of disciplinary proceedings and adequate punishment for this violation of the basic principles and statutes of the Euroleague, and the punishment of those responsible for politicized and clearly prepared incidents and persecution of our team of our club in Kaunas.
Otherwise, all Euroleague participants have the opportunity to use their matches to promote politics, their problems and grievances, not sports. It is clear what this will lead to.
Despite all the events in Kaunas, “Red Star” will continue to promote the true values of basketball and the tournaments in which it participates, “- said in a statement the Serbian club.
Before the match, Zalgiris players showed a banner in support of Ukraine. Judges also joined the action. The Red Star players refrained from this procedure.
During the game, fans of the Lithuanian team chanted insulting slogans addressed to the “Red Stars”, as well as hoisted NATO and Ukrainian flags.
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