Strife in Serbia: Kragujevac Wild Boars awarded win, Belgrade Blue Dragons forced to forfeit upset victory

On May 13, one of the best teams in the Balkan region, the Kragujevac Wild Boars, lost a game to an underdog, the Belgrade Blue Dragons, 14-7. The game was excellent, friendly and the outcome was totally unexpected. It was the first time in history of football in Serbia that the Wild Boars suffered a loss from the Blue Dragons.

The loss tarnished the Wild Boars perfect record and knocked them out of Europe’s Top 20 rankings, published by American Football International.

What is of interest was that of May 31, this victory still has not been officially registered by the Serbian Association of American Football (SAAF). The reason for this is that suspended Belgrade linebacker #36 Nebojsa Rajkovic, who was ejected from the in the previous game against the Meridian Inđija Indians, participated in the match. From what Touchdown Europe (TDEU) was able to find out, the Blue Dragons appealed the decision, the disciplinary commission was overruled, and Rajkovic was eligible to play – at least until the appeal process is over.

However, after their loss, the Wild Boars board has submitted a complaint and requested the game to be registered 35-0 in their favor.

TDEU reached out both to Kragujevac and Belgrade to get their statements on what is going on.

Nemanja Calija, president of Kragujevac Wild Boars speaks

“SAAF has been collapsing since last year, as its being led by incompetent people and others who have their spot in SAAF and who are there to protect their teams and not to promote the sport and the development of American football. The very same is happening now in this case with the Blue Dragons player, who is appeared in the match against Wild Boars, despite all regulations.

SAAF Disciplinary Official, Competition Commissioner and Arbitration Commission have ruled a decision which is against all regulations and rules. On top of that, the whole process has been led, again, outside of all regulations, by the SAAF Secretary General – who also serves as the president of the organization where the suspended player comes from.

This is not an isolated case in SAAF. This is pretty much a standard way for people who sit in serious positions in the Association. It’s a violation of the Sports Act, a violation of the Statute of the Association and all other ordinances.

The saddest part is that no one is interested in this, and now it pretty much seems that the Wild Boars are the only ones who are requesting for rules and regulations to be obeyed, while other teams remain quiet.

We aim to fight for a good system and the development of the sport, and not winning the games at the green table. One of the facts to back that up, which can be confirmed by the CEFL (Central European League) as well, is that we could have gotten a 35-0 in our advantage – in one of our biggest games, which is what the opponent was offering, but we made the effort to play and win on the field.”

Photo: Milos Rafailovic Raf

Belgrade Blue Dragons board comments on the controvesy

TDEU talked to the Blue Dragons board who said that they approached the Wild Boars head coach, Aleksandar Ristic, prior to the match, and Ristic agreed for Rajkovic to play. Head referee was present during the discussion.

“From our point of view, that is under the jurisdiction of people in SAAF. A decision has been made, but the board of Kragujevac is constantly appealing. The truth is that we should be the ones to file the complaints, because the damage of the wrong decision is completely on our team. A suspended player could play and he had that on paper from the disciplinary commission, as the appeal process was started before the game against the Wild Boars. That was said before the start of the game to the Referee and the Wild Boars head coach.

We were ready to remove that player from the game, if Kragujevac wanted that. On the referee’s question, Kragujevac agreed for him to play and he did. After the game nobody wrote anything in any form of compliant, referees or the Wild Boars. Two days later, they filed for an appeal to register that game with an official score of 0-35 for them.

We are going to let this go its way, hypocrisy of Kragujevac management is on them. It’s a shame because of players who suffered their first defeat from our team, as it takes away the dignity they had after the game.

By the way, management of Blue Dragons is currently in process of appealing the Championship game in 2009, when Kragujevac won the championship. That game was played after the management of Kragujevac pressured the Blue Dragons head coach Jovan Bulatovic, to let their suspended wide reciever to play. He scored two touchdowns! We will demand for that game to be registered with the official score of 35-0 for Blue Dragons and claim the champion title 2009 for our team.

There is also a matter of disciplinary procedure in progress, against the management of Kragujevac, because they were threatening, multiple times over the phone, the Disciplinary judge, members of Arbitrary Committee and the Competition Commissioner – in attempt to persuade them to rule in their favor. Also, they were making threats towards the SAAF officials, saying that they will use political influence to take them down from their positions in Association and to endanger the functioning of SAAF.

We are very sorry that a great Serbian team is being dragged into this, because of their management.”

How will this play out? SAAF already ruled in favor of Blue Dragons, but the story is far from over. Wild Boars have filed a complaint to the Sport Federation of Serbia to overrule SAAF decision and overthrow the members of the association.

UPDATE: SAAF has made an official decision and has ruled a 35-0 in favor of the Wild Boars. Blue Dragons are set to appeal this decision. The word is that the Blue Dragons failed to pay the appeal fee to SAAF on time.

This article originally appeared on on Touchdown Europe and was re-posted with permission.

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