Serbian football association president Slavisa Kokeza resigns over links with group accused of murder and drug trafficking-Sports News, Firstpost

Kokeza also said in his resignation letter that he wanted to allow the national team “the necessary peace and stability” at the start of qualifying for the World Cup. Serbia face Ireland at home on Wednesday.

Belgrade: The president of the Serbian football association resigned on Monday after being linked to a group of supporters accused of murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking.

Slavisa Kokeza has said he is stepping down to focus on restoring his image after being linked to organized crime.

Kokeza also said in his resignation letter that he wanted to allow the national team “the necessary peace and stability” at the start of World Cup qualifying. Serbia face Ireland at home on Wednesday.

Police last month questioned Kokeza about his alleged links to the leaders of a Partizan Belgrade fan group who were arrested in January in what officials called a major crackdown on football’s Mafia links.

Details of the police investigation leaked to the media include alleged killings by members of their rival group, including beheadings and torture in a special “bunker” at the club’s stadium in the Serbian capital.

The group also reportedly intended to kill Serbian populist President Aleksandar Vucic. Kokeza, who was a close ally of Vucic, said in his resignation letter that linking him to such “brutal” crimes represents “dangerous lies”.

The Serbian authorities are used to tolerating hooliganism which has often led to violence and outbursts of nationalism in the stadiums.

Far-right football supporters have often been seen at pro-government rallies promoting a nationalist political agenda. In return, analysts say, the hooligans have been allowed to continue their illegal business activities.

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