"Half of sports clubs led by mafia"

BELGRADE -- Interior Minister Ivica Dačić says "every criminal in Serbia owned one or more clubs" and wonders how fans can be expected to be "better than club managements".

“Today we don't know who owns the clubs. I wanted to hold a meeting with the clubs' presidents before this year’s (football) championship started, but I decided to cancel it when I learned who was supposed to attend it."

"Half of them are involved in organized crime. Do we want such managements in the clubs, or rather those which would have a positive social and state influence,” said the interior minister.

In an interview for Alo tabloid, he added that he knowns some of the supporter group leaders, but that "nobody was privileged regardless of their acquaintance".

“I cannot say that I know support group leaders. I used to know them, but that was over 10-15 years ago. We need to keep in mind what we are fighting against here. We do not need to fight fans, but hooligans and criminals. One doesn't know anylonger whose hand one can shake in the street," Dačić was quoted as saying.

"I don't have a computer in my head to let me know whether someone committed a crime or an offense. Nobody is privileged,” he repeated.

The minister added that Vladan Lukić of Red Star FC had asked if someone from his Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) could be proposed for a position in the administration in order to help the club.

According to Dačić, his party "does not have any interest in having its officials in the club administrations".

“Why would it be in our interest to have somebody in the administration of a club? I used to be president of some clubs and I know that there are no benefits but only obligations,” he explained.