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Respect for professional footballers in Serbia has suffered another huge blow. The Serbian national football association (FSS) has suspended whistle-blower Dragisa Pejovic for six months.

The FSS has decided to suspend Dragisa Pejovic for six months because he has revealed that there is corruption in Serbian professional football. The football association took this action after Pejovic had spoken during the presentation of the FIF Pro Black Book Eastern Europe.

Nezavisnost, the union of professional footballers in Serbia, has not yet seen an official decree, but has heard that Pejovic is suspended, according to Mirko Poledica, president of the union.  He said, ‘Pejovic heard last week from the chairman of his club that he had to leave. The club is afraid of various problems, if he stayed.’ Pejovic played for Bane Raska in the third division.

Poledica said: ‘I don’t think he’ll find another club in Serbia. No one wants him any more.’

Pejovic is not the first whistle-blower to be punished by the Serbian football association. The same thing happened to Boban Dmitrovic last year. This former international had spoken openly of corruption in Serbian football, including during a FIFPro meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece. Dmitrovic was also suspended for six months.

Dragisa Pejovic spoke on Tuesday 8 February during the presentation of the Black Book Eastern Europe. He related his unpleasant experiences during his career as a professional footballer. He has been confronted with non-payment, violence, threats, blackmail, and match fixing. About the latter Pejovic said that he had participated in match fixing under enormous pressure from the club management.

In response to Pejovic’s remarks the Serbian football association had submitted a penal complaint to the public prosecutor. However, under pressure from FIF Pro, the national football union Nezavisnost, and European parliament member Emine Bozkurt, the FSS decided to abandon criminal proceedings.