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Balkan Affairs
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
Halo Footytubers,

I wanted to start a topic on recently often debated Balkan regional football league, which would include top teams from former Yugoslavian states (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia), with the possibility of including major teams from Greece, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. I would like to hear opinions from everyone familiar with football on Balkan peninsula, and what they see as pros and cons of this competition.

Here is little info for a people that are interested in this topic, but did not attend Balkan football history classes in school. Until the 1991. And civil war that broke Yugoslavia apart, Yugoslavian football league was among top 5 European football competitions. First eastern European team to reach Champions Cup (later League) finals FC Partizan Belgrade (1966. Loss vs Real Madrid), 1967 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (later UEFA Cup) winner Dinamo Zagreb, and 1991. European champion Red Star Belgrade, all came from Yugoslavian league, as well as several other teams from these states that had important roles in European competitions. Ever since Yugoslavia fell apart, quality of domestic leagues in these states has been drastically receding, and many believe that reinstating competition that would include all major teams from this region, would make football clubs from this part of Europe far more competitive with the western clubs.

In my opinion, competition like this would raise the quality of the game of Balkan football on much higher level, bringing back crowd on the stands, and it would be much more attractive from the commercial point of view than any other football competition in this region (basketball league proved as a jack pot). Let me hear others....

P. S. This topic was made only for discussing football issues, please leave any political/nationalistic comments and arguments at home.
Juno (AC Milan) 6 years ago
This sounds like a Former USSR competition.... Not from a political point of view though...
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
Yeah, because people here are tired of watching mediocre football, where all our talents run abroad as soon as they get a chance. This idea for many is solution to create competition which would bring up quality of football in the region, as well as become more commercial than existing national leagues
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
Would security not be a major issue here nemanja? , its not as if these countries are all buddy buddy, and travelling fans and teams could be at risk from nutcases, look at the serbian situation which we have been discussing with the trouble in italy.
And I think although it would be tremendous for football in the region, I don't think the political parasites would allow it.
Nice idea, but its maye a few years down the line before theres even discussions on the subject
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
Security issues are the biggest problem when speaking about this competition, and unfortunately it is more likely that we'll have to wait till time comes when we could see this happen. Till than we are stuck with watching stronger European leagues on TV and hopping some of the teams from this region reach Champions League (I was lucky Partizan did it this season) so we could witness some quality football on local stadiums as well
Tony (footytube staff) 6 years ago
Well, best of luck with that, everyone deserves decent football, and especially the region your talking about, as I know all the countries are football mad in that region, and they do deserve a better league, but like here in northern ireland you will always get bigots on all sides who keep stirring the s**t for the rest who just want to ge on and live, and watch a simple game of footy
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
Thanks man! I guess there are similarities between Serbia and Northern Ireland, despite geographic distance...
Charliehenry (Arsenal youth) 6 years ago
Are you saying put all the leagues together of a national competition?
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 6 years ago
It is an interesting topic and it is a bit similar in many ways to the discussion about a possible Iberic League with Spanish and Portugese teams, with a Catalan division of sorts.

Maybe the mods would entertain the idea of a common thread for the potential of regional leagues.

I don't know much about Balkans football. Their clubs don't go far in the Champions League, with a couple of exceptions. However, it is understandable that you will have an economic discussion and a political one.

It is crucial to determine who would create such a league? Would it come from the biggest clubs? What would they win if they join? (Bigger crowds? More commercial and TV revenues? More interest from talented players and coaches etc).
Then you have the second level of the authority: the federations, which oversee the national competitions and which may see this initiative as detrimental to their leagues. Would they benefit financially from this regional league? Their national leagues are weak as they are, imagine if the best teams leave.
Then it is the third level, the governments. They would probably support the idea as the post-war Balkans look for more cooperation etc. Nevertheless, politics would interfere. Who will get in this league? Would certain nations have a quota of participation? Why they would be interested in a league in which eventually only let's say Croatian and Serbian clubs will be strong enough to qualify?

You know better than most of us that the dissolution of Yugoslavia was made possible by ambitious national elites who wanted to control their local affairs more directly and unsupervised. Sport affairs are not any different. Local federations are forces who benefit from the existence of national leagues and they would do their best to prevent a league in which their powers are diminished.

It is also my impression of an outsider that while the Balkans societies have made a great progress in the recent years the climate in the stadiums has not changed much. There's a great deal of racism, xenophobia, ultra-nationalist pride, mistrust and myths. These would bring a multitude of organizational headaches on choosing referees, dealing with reviews of problems during the matches, appeals etc.

Would the organizers of such a league would be strong enough to punish acts of hate? Would their decisions be respected and honored by the national institutions? You wouldn't want to start such a big project, make enemies in the existing national structures invest money and energy only to see the entire league fall, just like Yugoslavia expired (of course without the war).

Also what would this mean for the Champions League? Would all this mean that only a couple of clubs out of 10 to 15 now from the region would qualify to participate?

As for the countries out of the former Yugoslavia space, I don't see Hungary and Greece joining the initiative. Although the Turks may give it a second thought. (If only for political reasons.)
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 6 years ago
I like your analysis, unfortunately this would a very complicated project to carry out. It makes me sad because ex-Yu countries produce so much talent, which is either sold off quickly or simply disappears in the mediocrity that our national leagues are. I am afraid that eventually our national teams will start paying the price too...
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
Thanks for a detailed insight on this topic Marcinny, I'm glad to see that you took interest in this.

Do not know how informed are you about football in this region, but in every league situation is somewhat like in Scotland, where you have two or three powerhouses, and rest of the teams are just there to fill the season schedule, and never are competitive to even challenge these teams. Prior to civil war in Yugoslavia, football league was made out of these powerhouse teams from each state (Serbia-Partizan and Red Star, Croatia-Dinamo and Hajduk, etc.) and competition was extremely stronger. Reason you do not see teams from this region making it far in champions league, if they even qualify for champions league, is because competition in domestic leagues is too weak, and quality football is suffering.

Another huge issue is fact that talented players are leaving way too early abroad (as soon as they turn 18), even to mediocre western football countries, because they are lacking strong matches each week, and their progress is slowed down. I'll just give you the fact that 90% of players in current Serbian national squad left domestic competition before they turned even 20. With talents leaving leagues that early, quality of football is suffering even more.

Idea is to create regional league, made out of powerhouses from each state, most likely around twelve clubs. These teams would still play domestic competitions (which would probably arrange their schedules to fit in with regional league, and from which teams would qualify for UEFA competitions). Parallel with domestic league, top teams would play regional league, which would create much more competitive environment. This would have enormous impact on preparing these clubs for competing in champions league, and facing strong European sides. Stronger competition automatically attracts talented players to stay longer in these clubs.

From the commercial point of view, this league would be much more attractive, because teams involved have long tradition of rivalry (over 70 years), and having rivalry between nations would bring an edge as well (this has its downside, I'll talk about it later). I personally never had chance to enjoy old Yugoslavian league (way too young when it all fell apart), but even today older fans talk about that league and chance to watch big matches every weekend, and how football today in this region is miserable comparing to those days. League would be interesting from the international aspect as well, because you would have teams from states that were in war not so long ago, coming together and playing football, which I believe would send an huge message about strength of football game.

The biggest issue with this idea are still fresh memories from civil war in 90's. Unfortunately, there is a significant number of extreme fans in this region (as you could see during "six minute" Italy-Serbia game), who's nationalistic behavior has caused a lot of problems to clubs and federations in past years. Justice systems in former Yugoslavian states is underdeveloped, where bribery is a common thing, and hooligans are using this fact to get away with their criminal acts. There has been some initiative to suppress these extreme groups in last couple of years, and there has been success, but hooligans are still out there, and this fact would be main concern in case of organizing league like this.

I would have to say that I disagree with you (Marcinny) on your comment about racism and xenophobia. There is a great deal of these phenomenon among hooligans and extreme fans, like in other European countries, but not within majority of normal people. There is a significant number of football players in these clubs that are from other countries and races, and most of them actually have iconic status among fans. Also a lot of African-American basketball players are playing in clubs from this region, and they are extremely popular in these countries. There is still animosity between nations involved in civil war (Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia), and we simply cannot run away from that. If competition like this would come to life, there would have to be a strong security measures, so insanity of few would not spoil joy of many
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 6 years ago
We have a very similar opinion on the whole spectrum of these issues, and I am also post YU-league generation - never had the chance to watch those matches live. The idea of the regional league sounds very exciting to me but I seen too many problems arising, most of which you and Marcinny have already mentioned.
Even if we take the financial/logistic issues aside, there is still the biggest problem of nationalism and the war sentiments. I know that most people in our countries are not psycho bloodthirsty racist hooligans, but if we are to be honest, usually the fan groups associated with Dinamo or Partizan (or any other Balkan football team) are extreme far right, and to this day sing about slaughtering each other. I would like to believe that these groups can simply be removed from the stadiums, but I'm afraid that the mass psychology takes its toll. In other words, if you have say 30 000 people in the stadium and the most hardcore ones start chanting xenophobic comments, chances are at least 10 000 will follow. I see this regularly on Croatia and Dinamo games.
Another big problem is corruption within the national associations and the management of each club, where there is typical Balkan mentality going on, I. E. Those people are usually power-hungry bastards with no interest in anything else except money. I can tell you right now that everything associated with football in Croatia is run by mafiosos like that, and I am pretty sure it is similar in other ex-YU states. Mamic of Dinamo would be a prime example. Anyway, my point is that this in itself would be a big problem for keeping up the league if it was ever founded, since these neanderthals would just squeeze all the money out of it and leave it to rot.
On the positive note, if we keep improve relations and also fight corruption, I think something like this could be realistic in 10-20 years
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
Great points Markodon. Battle with hooliganism in ex-Yu countries is not going very well, considering corruption in our justice systems, and that has been huge issue for football in these republics. Certainly post war sentiments would be like a fuel for nationalistic groups.
Unfortunately football in our two countries is ran by people that should never have any connections to sport as well, so it is not healthy atmosphere around this beautiful game. Just take the fact that former Serbian FA president is in jail right now, for laundering money through player's transfers, and it gives you a clear picture where we stand at.
Still as a true football fan, I hope time will come (sooner than 20 years) that we get to watch quality football weekend in and out (like good old Yugoslavian league), and not keep on following championships where you get couple of worthy matches during whole season.
P. S. Drago mi je da vidim nekog I sa ovih prostora da ucestvuje you raspravi
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 6 years ago
Ja sam se vec odavno zapalio za tu ligu ali kad cujem komentare tipa "samo preko mene mrtvog" ili "zapalit cemo stadion ako bude ex-yu liga", pomislim da ni nezasluzujemo bolje. Ali istina je da medju mladima ipak ima vise normalnih ljudi, tako je de treba nadati. Pozdrav
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 6 years ago
Thanks to google translate we can keep an eye on you too. Lol
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
Hahaha! Sorry about that one Marcinny, sometimes we get a bit nostalgic speaking English all the time on footytube!

Markodon, da smo se mi mladji (barem ova normalna vecina) you obe zemlje pitali, drugacije bi se verovatno odvijale one tuzne 90, ali od istorije any mozes pobeci. Na zalost, protiv slepog fanatizma I laznog nacionalizma je tesko boriti se. Mozemo samo da se nadamo da cemo jednog dana na miru gledati Dinamo na gostovanju Partizanu you Beogradu, I obrnuto
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 6 years ago
Yes, sorry Marcinny, not going to make a habit of it!    Velja - potpisujem 100%
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 6 years ago
I was just kidding guys. I don't care how you communicate with each other.
(Of course, if everyone starts doing it, then this can easily become like the Babel's Tower.)
6 years ago
This is all well and good for the "powerhouse" teams, but what happens to the rest? Are they just left to rot? The smaller clubs rely on gates from matches with the bigger clubs just to keep themselves in business.

VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
All these teams would still play domestic leagues with clubs from their countries, and would have to qualify for UEFA competitions through domestic leagues. Regional league would be a parallel competition which would provide "powerhouses" a chance to have more competitive matches throughout the season. This would be the reason for organizing league like this, because currently these clubs do not have strong competitors, like in England for example, where Chelsea or ManU have to show up and play each week, no matter who is the opposition. In Serbia, for example, Partizan can take out reserve squad against any of the "weaker" clubs in the league, and win comfortable, because gap in budget and organization is huge, and smaller clubs just cannot keep up...
6 years ago
Maybe something like the Royal League that they tried (unsuccessfully) in Scandinavia?
6 years ago
It only failed, I might add, due to lack of finances - I thought it was a great idea, and I think they may be trying to resurrect it again this year
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
This league would have advantage in the fact that teams from former Yugoslavian states already have history of rivalry for 70 years, connected with rivalry between these nations, and that is the most important aspect for attracting people to watch this competition. And where is the crowd, there is the money...
Unmecenfrance (Lille) 6 years ago
I will not claim to be an expert on Balkan states and individual economic systems, but it seems to me that eventually there would arise a great parity between clubs from certain nations and clubs from others. The league in itself is a very idealistic proposition. But you can't discount the political aspect--and I'm not referring to racial, moral or religious-based politics that fuel hooliganism and hate. Rather the purely legal aspects. Individual governments have a lot of influence over who can do business in their countries and how they can go about it. That is to say, is one government going to give preference to local sponsors while others take a more capitalistic approach, bringing in multinational businesses and foreign money to enhance their monetary profile in the league and in the sport?

We can't deny the fact that clubs need money to operate, to build stadiums, to attract fans.... And ultimately to keep local talent at home. Would the league be able to legally impose regulations mitigating the financial exploits of the clubs in one country as well as those in another? Or are political boundaries going to have the same effect they have now? And is it going to take buttering up politicians (or other organizations who have control over business) to achieve?

The way I see it, the political parity in the region is what's holding back a lot of progress. More so than the extremists who only make up a very small minority. The idea of an International Balkan League presupposes a lot of intra-political cooperation if clubs are to remain on a level playing field. There has to be some justifiable and enforceable regulation from the organizing powers-that-might-be in order for every club to get the opportunity to succeed as a positive money-making venture.

Maybe it just comes down to cynicism and skepticism on my part, but I can't see a group of 10-20 nations deciding to work together towards a common goal, especially in an area that has not enjoyed any relative stability during most our lifetimes. If it is to succeed, it will be necessary for separate political entities to agree to work for each other and for themselves with equal fervor, because as the league benefits from the support of each individual government (as well as from the league as a political entity), so too the governments benefit from the league as a money-making enterprise.

I do like the idea of the league as an attraction for local talent to stay home and develop a style that befits them. We see a lot of great national teams full of talented players, none of whom play anywhere near one another. So, it is always difficult for them to come together in international competition and compete. One need only look at the German national squad who has long enjoyed great success, and in no small part because until recently, German footballers always played in Germany. German football has its particular nuances because it is bred among its players who play together and against each other all their lives. (Of course there are always exceptions; Germans will play outside of their country, and foreign players will come into the Bundesliga; but the vast majority of the league is homogenous.)

The same can be said for Italy, France, England (to a certain degree--the English don't migrate well, but they attract the most foreign talent of any league), the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Brazil (becoming the opposite of the English--they send all their best talents to Europe, and the Brazilian leagues stay homogenous).... All the traditional footballing powerhouses have long developed their respective style of play and type of player.

We saw this past World Cup a Serbian team that were very talented, who had most of their squad playing in Western Europe in well-renowned clubs, but who didn't manage to progress as far as they could have. Of course, they tore through the qualifiers, but in the end we judge them on their performance in the Finals. By contrast, we saw a Slovenian team, the smallest nation in the Cup Finals, who were largely unknown but who presented a challenge to every team they faced in their group. Sure, we can argue that Serbia did do better than Slovenia, and that the European qualifying for the World Cup doesn't exactly lend itself to Balkan clubs getting a fair chance at getting to the Finals; but for me, Slovenia looked the better squad. And it seemed so because of their style of play. Serbia played in a very European style, as all their players are well accustomed to doing with their respective clubs. But Slovenia had a raw, passionate approach to the game; something I feel is at the basis of this desire for a Balkan league. It's about identity in the game. I, and my Balkan friends in this forum, don't want to see the European style running the show, and I certainly don't want it to be the sole influence on how the game is played. Let's face it, people are different, we go about our lives differently, we appreciate different aspects of life; and it only follows that football, as an expression of our style of life (if you'll permit the link between aesthetics and sport) is a reflection of those differences. That's what makes International football special. But the homogenization of football caused by our exportation of players to England, Spain, Germany, etc removes this sense of identity from the game.

The verdict: great ideal; but very difficult to achieve given who runs the show
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 6 years ago
Appriciate your extensive analysis, great contribution! Your are completely right to point out the extremely complex nature of this potential project when it comes to aspects such as financing, regulation, state co-operation, etc. I will not pretend that I know much about this side of football as my focus has always largely been on the game itself and not its business aspects.

However, there are some things I have to mention here. First of all, we are not talking 10-20 nations here (I agree, that would be insane!), but rather the ex-Yugoslav states - B&H, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. All of these countries have a lot in common (e. G. Language). Recently, there has been a sort of a "trading boom" in the region, but also more serious projects like the proposed joint railway company operating in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. These are just examples of re-established co-operation on the state level. As for the ogranization of the league itself - you probably didn't know that the regional basketball league exists for around a decade and it includes teams from most ex-Yu states (Slo, Ser, Cro, B&H). It faced some problems over the years, and I believe some clubs are not doing too well financially, with one of the reasons being lack of interest. That is unfortunate, because the Yu Basketball League used to be in top 3 of Europe. But I am sure the football league would not have this problem since the game is literally worshiped all across the region, and the rivalries are some of the most intense in the world.

As for the homogenity issues - it is true what you say, and I agree that it is absolute vital to keep the players at home for the benefit of the national team. Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect them to stay in their home league permanently (that is only possible in English, Germany and a few other countries), but at least for those vital years necesarry for them to pick up that domestic style of playing. However, the majority of Croatian players, for example, still do have that as they usually spend at least a few seasons in their national leagues (the managers are reluctant to let them go before their prices go up to a reasonable level)
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
I would add up on Markodon's comment that Balkan Basketball League is a great example how to organize competition like this. League is a independent non profit organization, where all funds are going towards maintaining the league functioning (travel expanses of the teams, organizing games, etc.). Clubs find interest in playing this competition because it attracts more crowd than domestic competitions (football rivalries between Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian clubs lasts for sixty years, and without doubt you would have stadiums packed week in and week out), getting more lucrative sponsorship deals by playing commercially attractive competition and getting domestic talent to spend more years playing for their native clubs since they would play more competitive league, therefore have more space to develop within their own countries.
Whoever is familiar with football trends in this region agrees that from commercial and football point of view all clubs involved would benefit enormously, but the big question are security issues and still fresh memories of the tragic war that took place during 90's, which could be Pandora's box in this case
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 6 years ago
For me, a big dilemma would be concering the format of the compatition in relation to the domestic leagues. I think the possiblity of qualifying for Europe from the regional league could potentially mean the end of the domestic leagues. If you take away incentives like that (and believe, most teams struggle to pass the the initial rounds of Euro competitions even if they do qualify through domestic leagues), I think that would cause the last of the remaining fans (I think the average attendance across the ex-Yu leagues is something like 10-20% of the stadium capacities, and the stadiums are mostly not that big to begin with) to leave the stands. So I see this as a very delicate issue. In my opinion, there would be two realistic options.
First would be to make the regional league as a "supra-international" division, which would be an isolated league, not directly linked to European football, but to be a sort of a local Champions league, including 2-3 teams from each country (don't think it would be smart to go over the number of 12 teams, to keep the saturation of quality and financial viability). It could either be a closed-type of league (MLS-style) or it could contain new teams each year, depending on their domestic league positions (you gotta' have some incentives to stir things up).
The second option would be to replace the domestic leagues with a fully operational tier-based regional system which would go down at least 3 levels down (the domestic leagues would only start at the amateur level). The league would have to be fully compatible the European compatitions of champions league and EL. Of course, this is a much less likely option in logistical terms.

God, I'm such a dreamer.... LOL
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 6 years ago
I would definitely go with option one, because taking away importance from domestic competitions (qualifying for UEFA competitions) would kill clubs that would not be involved in regional league, and quite honestly there is no reason for that because Dinamo, Hajduk, Zeleznicar, Sarajevo, Red Star and Partizan basically every year qualify for European competitions by winning domestic championships or cups.

Regional league should be played parallel with domestic leagues, and its main purpose, beside commercial, would be to provide Balkan "power houses" with stronger competition in order to be more competitive when playing in Europe (and not have cases like Partizan qualifying for champions league this season and loosing all their matches, because evidently European level of football is far from level played in this region). I agree that this competition should not exceed size of 12 clubs (more would be impossible to fit in schedule with other competitions). I would also impose standards where clubs involved in regional competition must have consistent success on domestic level, in order to keep their place in the regional league, and this way you would put even more emphasis on domestic competitions, in order to preserve importance of national championships
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Latest news/rumor on Balkan regional league in!

Apparently new regional league will be played starting 2011/2010 season, but it will not consist of ex-Yugoslavian powerhouses (Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split, Partizan Belgrade, Red Star Belgrade....) but a mid table clubs from these states.competition will be organized under patronage of Balkan FARE (regional department of Football Against Racism in Europe).

Press conference was held in Belgrade where Balkan FARE representatives came out with the program for Balkan regional league, supported by Serbian sports ministry.

Now, if this competition is real deal, or just another speculation, we'll see in near future.

For anyone interested in article on this topic, here's link, with heads up that you need to be familiar with Serbian language, or use google translator and see where that takes you!

Borg (Manchester United) 5 years ago
Fantastic development!
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
It will be interesting to see how this new regional league works out if the competition is to take place
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
Interesting stuff, Velja. That would be a start. And possibly a way to raise the quality of mid-level teams, hence end the domination of the ex-Yu "big four"
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
The main reason they are organizing this league without major clubs in region are actually fans, because they do not want to have hooliganism issues right at the start.

It's a good way to make a path for eventual joining with "big guns".

There is a hope, because when regional league in basketball started nationalistic tension was present first two seasons as well, but now this competition is being played without any incidents, and it grew up to be third best basketball league in Europe. Off course, we should have in mind that football fans are bit more fanatic than basketball fans.

Lets hope football league will take the same direction, if league gets organized, because in Balkans we are good with planning, but not so good in acting upon it. So football fans can just wait and see what happens...
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 5 years ago
In basketball you don't need violent fans, the players do a good job themselves. I saw some clips from a Serbian-Greek clash last year. It got really nasty with throwing chairs and stuff. Not sure whether it was from a regional tournament. Hopefully not a "friendly" or it would have been hilarious.

It is hard to make the crowds in the terraces behave. Many go to the stadium to scream their heart out and let their frustrations out.

The league will mean little unless they include the "big guns" as you called them. But it will teach the organizers how to tackle the problems. I also doubt that fans in the provinces are nicer than those in the capital. But, I guess the organizers thought that smaller crowds are easier to control.

Anyways, good luck
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Marcinny prepare to laugh, that Serbia-Greece game you are talking about was a friendly match, preparation for basketball WC last year. That gives you a bit of taste of "passion" we have for sports over here.

Last point you made on smaller crowds is spot on. It would be much easier to control couple of thousands fans, than 40 000 and more that Dinamo, Hajduk, Partizan or Red Star would generate for sure
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 5 years ago
Damn Velja, hahahahaha. That was some strange way of showing friendliness. But yeah, sometimes, altercations happen during friendlies as well. Although in that case they took it too far. I am sure the guy who threw the chair got some kind of a ban. At least he deserved to. Throwing chairs is not right. What happened to the good old punch in the face. Lol
Darkinja (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
I'd love to see a Balkan league that included the Greek giants too Olympiakos, PAO, PAOK, AEK, Aris Saloniki, and likes of Levski Sofia, FC Koper, Maribor and Zeljeznicar. The quality would be superb. Yes of course its fans and ethnic hooligan problems. And the nationalist /ethnic elements left behind after the war in Yugoslavia. People travelling to games would get hurt. The level of danger would be intensde more than the police could handle. Such a shame
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 5 years ago
Darkinja, I have been saying the same thing. Without Greek and Bulgarian clubs, this would be only a Yugoslavian affair. The Balkans are bigger than that. And if you are daring enough to dream the impossible, add to the mix also some Turkish and Romanian clubs and you will have a league with the potential to compete with the best
Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 5 years ago
I have always thought to myself what a brilliant team yugoslavia would have today if all the nations were united. I mean think about it, you have vidic, ivanovic, subotic, Kolarov, Daniel Pranjic, Corluka, Srna, Lovren, Krasic, Modric, Jovanovic, Krancjaer, miralem Pjanjic, Rakitic, Dzeko, Vucinovic, and Berbatov as a short list of world class players to choose from, and I'm sure I'm missing a few players here as well. I mean really, can you imagine seeing this team playing in the world cup:


*Interchangeable with Krancjaer
**interchangeable with Berbatov

Honestly, I think that this would be one of the best teams in the world were these players to be able to play together. It would certainly be formidable.

FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Now that's a team that would have a shot at winning championships
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 5 years ago
Except that Berbatov is Bulgarian and would not be included in that bunch
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Always preferred Dzeko to him anyway
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
Marcinny knows his geography
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
Btw blueskiesahead, how could you not include Darijo Srna, the best right back from ex-yugoslavia? Apart from that, spot on. And minus the Bulgarian, of course...
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
I don't know Markodon, Ivanovic was perfect for Chelsea on the right back for more than a season, even though he is a center back by default, and Premiership is much higher level of football than Ukrainian league. I say all this with great respect for Srna, I do believe he is a great player as well. At the moment, maybe Ivanovic with Vidic in a center, and Srna in on the right instead of Subotic.

Yeah, it is always a downer when you think about how strong Yugoslavian team would be
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 5 years ago
Markodon, I remember Vidic and Berba teasing each-other about some ethnic music. Lol. I think Berba used to listen to some Bulgarian heavy metal (lolololol) and Vidic couldn't take it anymore. Or maybe the other way around, I forgot it now
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Hardly that it was heavy metal Marcinny, most likely it was so called "turbo folk", mixture of ethnic and modern music (kind of musical Frankenstein)!
Here is sample of it, if you enjoy it better check your head! It is duet of Serbian (F1 driver costume) and Bulgarian singer! They are having a blast!

Blueskiesahead (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Whoops, my mistake on berbs, I was thinking that he was bosnian for some reason. Anywho, the only reason I left out srna is because of ivanovic. But they are of course both top quality. The only reason that bane edges out srna is that he has proven himself in the EPL, which is in my personal opinion, much more difficult to do consistantly than in Ukraine and Croatia. However, this does just go to show just how strong such a team would be. Also count the other players that I left out such as Jovetic, Jovanovic, Handanovic, etc. Quite a few talented players to choose from
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Coaching that team would be a stress free job, in terms of picking up the starting line up
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
But getting them to work together and win trophies will be a headache. I also think Ivanovic has proven himself in the toughest league in the world and has been a great RB for chelsea over the past year so he should easily be able to claim a spot in the starting XI ahead of Srna
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Mentality of players coming from this region has always been a problem, so I guess we would look at hiring coach with the psychology degree!
Darkinja (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
RB is difficult but for me Srna in for Ivanovic with Vrsaljko waiting to push into the Xi & Kranjcar in for Pjanic and Stankovic for Rakitic, and that would be pretty much my XI. It's a team that would own!
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
For God's sake Velja, no turbofolk on this site!

I agree that Ivanovic plays on a higher level, but for me he's more of a CB, as you mentioned. He is strong and tall, Srna is fast and has a killer cross
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 5 years ago
Markodon, it was only for my education. Lol
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
Fair enough, a sample strictly for educational purposes. Anyway, after hearing it once, you will mostly likely be completely terrified at a possibility of hearing turbofolk ever again
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Hahaha! No worries about it Markodon, it was just a once in a lifetime opportunity for Marcinny to hear what most of the footballers from this region listen
Marcinny (New York Red Bulls) 5 years ago
Ha, but if the Balkans will keep producing football stars, one day turbofolk might become obligatory for youngsters in Western football clubs. Lol
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
I remember one incident from a few years ago, when Rakitic and Krstajic snuck off the Schalke traning ground and went to a turbofolk club in Gelsenkirchen. The media found out and they got punished for it. But there was one weird detail - there was a third person with them and that was Jermaine Jones! So yeh, who knows how many other players in the west are influenced by them Balkan boys. Maybe Rooney and Giggs tag along with Berba to turbofolk parties!
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Lol maybe that'll have a positive effect on their game performances
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Hahaha! Markodon I remember that incident with Krstajic and Rakitic, but first time I hear Jermaine Jones was with them! That is hilarious...
Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
Yep, one of the true classics...
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
So any update on if anything is going to happen?
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Unfortunately not yet FootyRulz, but spring season over here just started this weekend so we'll see what happens in near future. As I said earlier, here on Balkans we are slow in finalizing good ideas, so this whole thing might take a while...
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Well I hope it does happen, I would like to see them try it for at least one season to see if it works out or not
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Same here FootyRulz, I believe the toughest thing will be to start league like that. Once it gets
On its feet, I believe it would be successful...
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
It does not really have to do much with this topic, but Partizan just defeated Red Star in national cup semis!

Markodon (NK Dinamo Zagreb) 5 years ago
Saw it already, they're bombaring us with news about Red Star in the Croatian media cause of Prosinecki
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
So you are getting bombarded with news of Red Star getting bombarded! Hope you'll get to hear those all season long...
Maroon45 (Manchester United) 5 years ago
This would be very interesting, you certainly have a handful of quality sides in the Balkans, they are just spread out over a number of leagues/nations. I don't think the Greek sides would join, just due to the fact that they have what seems to be a rather successful league (at least the top 4 or so). It would be nice, does the trouble in Italy last year hurt the prospects of this though?
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Certainly the incidents like the one in Genoa or in Zagreb, when Dinamo's fans set FC PAOK's bus on fire during their Europa League match, do not help. Even Platini paid a visit not so long ago to our (Serbian and Croatian) FA's, with the warning that we are close to be banned from all UEFA's competitions.

As we discussed above, hooliganism and safety are the main reasons competition like this is on hold, because from every other aspect it would benefit all sides involved in it
Macedonian (Napoli) 5 years ago

Hi to all
I was born in ex Yugoslavia & watch games of national exYU league and loved the national team then we separate from different circumstances still love my national team Macedonia but I do miss ex Yugo league
I would like to add to discussion. I do agree all Balkan states they have need of Balkan regional league. As is stands football in this region is sinking on day to day bases. Our clubs they can’t pass I second stage of Europe League due lack finance which reflects the level of football been played. National teams will also start suffering if something no changed all our talent is leaving before gets developed and not many of them will succeed gets stuck of playing lower leagues across Europe.
Put politics on side if you are football lover is only one way out get all together and start talking and resolving any problems as arrive.

This Example for Balkan Premier League
1. Slovinia 2 Clubs
2. Chroatia 2 clubs
3. Serbia 2 Clubs
4. Bosnia 2 Clubs
5. Romania 2 Clubs
6. Monte Negro 2 Clubs
7. Macedonia 2 Clubs
8. Bulgaria 2 Clubs
Total of 16 clubs
I know some will argue how come bigger countries have same number of teams,
Please follow all the way
This League will be with relegation so can happened some countries not have representation at all and some they have 3 even four teams at later stage.
Champion direct in Champions league
Second & third pre qualification for champions league
4, 5, 6 team in UEFA League
Last two clubs relegated to their national leagues

Promotion to Balkan Premier League

Champions of each national leagues which will be 8
By draw in two groups A & be of 4 Clubs
Play system home and away matches
First from A against second from be group
First from be against second from A group
Winners prompted to Balkan Premier League
Defeated clubs plays home and away against 13 & 14 placed teams in Balkan Premier League
Winners in Balkan Premier League
Defeated clubs back to National League from their origin.

Relegated teams from Balkan Premier League will go to National league and their football federation will determine number of clubs relegated from National First division.

Finances for the Balkan Premier League.
League Sponsors plus holding of TV rights of Balkan Premier League & each club must submit payment $200 000 Euro before season starts.
All of officials expenses paid by Balkan Premier League federation.
Fix rate compensation for clubs of $20 000 euro per club for away matches $10 000 home matches.
Matches played at Night kick of 18. 00 & 19. 30 21. 30 2 or 3 matches per Night Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Clubs must have business plan with min Budget of $2 000 000 Euros.
Home game ticket revenue for clubs plus sponsorships and venue advertising.
Clubs pay for Venue & Security around home games Players salaries and administration.
Rewards Champion $500 000 euro second $250 000 Third $150 000
Stadiums used must compaly min criteria of Used for Europe League
After all expenses Profits divided to equally to 8 nations football federation.

Also can be organize replacement of Europe League under cover of Balkan Premier League federation.

Balkan Super League where 1, 2, 3, 4 placed clubs from national leagues play against each other in relegation system home & away and also teams relegated from europe Europe league before group stage to join this competitions. Total of 32 clubs plus possibility of another 4 clubs which total can be from minimum of 32 clubs to 36 clubs maximum.
This competition can start mid September and played on mid week in weeks which Euro leagues are not played.
All of officials expenses paid by Balkan Premier League federation.
Fix rate compensation for clubs of $20 000 euro per club for away matches $10 000 home matches.
Matches played at Night kick of 19. 30 21. 30 2 or 3 matches per Wednesday Thursday weeks which Euro leagues are not played
Clubs must have business plan with min Budget of $500 000 Euros.
Home game ticket revenue for clubs plus sponsorships and venue advertising.
Clubs pay for Venue & Security around home games Players salaries and administration.
Rewards Champion $200 000 euro second $100 000 Third
This will help new clubs in Balkan Premier League & clubs which play in their National First divisions to get better exposure more funds from sponsors which will increase the quality of the their leagues.
Automatically means more spectators.
Stadiums used must compaly min criteria of Used for Europe League

TV Rights for Balkan Super League Fix Price publicly not disclosed which will go to Balkan Premier League Federation and clubs playing in the league compensated as same clubs playing Balkan Premier League sold in Package with TV rights of National first division of the football federation.
Packages sold on auction price difference will go towards National Football Federation of the origin.
National Football federation system of clubs participation and compensation copy of Balkan Premier League like franchise.
Only can be changed the clubs participations fee & compensation amount paid towards clubs.

National First Division kick of times 16. 00 & 17. 30 Fri Sat & Sundays. Number of matches depends of how big will be the league will not interfere with Balkan Premier League time slots.

National First Divisions are interested due clubs which are first they have chance of progressing to Balkan Premer League & 2, 3, 4 placed clubs plus two or four
Clubs which did progress to Balkan Premier League will Play replacement of Europe League – balkan super league.
Quality wise simular to qualification stages Europe League due no one of current Balkan clubs is progressing to final stage of Europe League.

With this system the concept of fair competitions are kept.
This will bring crowds to stadium better quality young talents they will stay longer in this league better sponsorship deals more money for the clubs
With good and fair organisation this can be success only if all party is are one equal level on the board of representatives of the Balkan League organisation regardless of number of teams played in competition and all the profits after all expenses around that league shared equally to 8 football federations.

In my opinion this can work even now with good disciplinary statute and a lot of organisation.

Peteko 5 years ago
Wow, Macedonian, you have done the whole blueprint, mate, down to every frigging detail. You should publish it in some of those former Yugoslavian newspapers.

I wish you had added a token Albanian club, although I'd be the first to admit that our sides suck big time. Hell, my Partizani has dropped from the radar completely.
That said, let me point out that we just left behind Montenegro and are now only three places under Macedonia in the UEFA ranking, if you bother to scroll down a bit at this one: Link:

It may not matter if this is just a revival of the Yugoslavian League, as Albania was not part of the federation (and I won't even touch that hot potato called Kosovo). But then I saw that you had also the Romanians in the mix and that makes it a Balkan rather than a Yugoslavian league. That complicates the situation a bit. Bulgarians seem to me a bit more "Balkan" than the Romanians. And then Albanians too may feel they are more "Balkan" than the Romanians and even the Slovenians.

Otherwise it is quite an ambitious project and yours is a great post. Well done. (Of course, I don't live in the Balkans and those numbers of money required and raised don't mean much to me, but I assume you have a better idea and numbers can always be adjusted.)
Peteko 5 years ago
Also, I wonder whether this league would mess with UEFA's system of deciding the number of clubs from each country for the Champions League.
Right now, if I am not mistaken, Romania is the only one from these countries which sends at least two clubs to the champions league.
So, considering your list, UEFA will expect 9 of them to play for the champions league. But what will happen with them in the following year. Will this league be considered as equal to other national leagues? In that case, the Balkans will lose at least 6 places in champions league. It may cause distress for the fans in the Balkans and headache to UEFA.
Maybe it was explained in your post and I missed it.... If not, what do you think of it?
VeljaSrbin (FK Partizan Beograd) 5 years ago
Macedonian thank you for your detailed input.

Your suggestion for the BPL is quite interesting. Basically you would revive whole Yugoslavian league structure, as it was before tragic 90's. I thought about this kind of format as well, but in my opinion it would kill domestic competitions, and smaller clubs from each Balkan state would suffer. I also do believe clubs and league would benefit much more if clubs would continue competing on national and regional level, where qualifications for UEFA competitions would be decided through national basis. Main reason for this is that BPL clubs would have much bigger access to European competition. Each country would keep at least one spot in champions league and several spots in EL, rather than having BPL max four spots in champions league (UEFA's restriction on maximum number of clubs qualifying from one league). In this case BPL would serve for raising level of football that clubs from this region are playing weekly, and also for financial benefit of the clubs, while domestic competitions would remain important because of the UEFA qualifications.

And Peteko, I believe that more countries would get involved in this project, the higher quality of the league would be. For the starters I believe that having just Yugoslavian clubs would be more beneficial, because these clubs have a long tradition of rivalries and it would be more marketable for these countries. But once league set its feet on the firm ground, joining of other clubs from Balkan area could only help make league even stronger

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