Belgrade football derby to be played with or without fans? Dr. Kon presents opinion of the Crisis HQ

It's clear that a serious debate will follow in the coming weeks

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Predrag Kon, derbi Photo-montage: Marko Jovanovic, Tanjug/Serbin government/Slobodan Miljevic

There are approximately two weeks left until the 163rd "eternal" football derby in Belgrade, to be played at the Partizan stadium between Partizan and Red Star, but what remains the biggest unknown is whether the most important match of the Serbian football half-season will be played in front of empty stands, as games have been played since the beginning of this championship, or if fans will be allowed to attend after all.

The most passionate supporters hope for an opportunity to return to the stadium, but the decision will in the end be made by experts.

Although there have been indications that fans would be allowed to return to the stadium, Dr. Predrag Kon, an epidemiologist and a member of the Crisis HQ for the fight against coronavirus, denied this.

As a guest on the Newsmax Adria program this morning, Kon pointed out that he "does not believe that the Crisis HQ will support the proposal to allow the audience to the eternal derby" and that he "expects that everyone in the HQ to be against it."

Last season, Red Star and Partizan squared off in in the Serbian Cup in mid-June, which caused great debates, since almost 20,000 people were present in Partizan's stadium in Humska Street at a time when half of Europe was under lock and key.

Even members of the Crisis HQ later admitted that the decision to play the game in front of an audience was probably wrong.

On the other hand, Dr. Miljko Ristic, president of the Serbian Football Federation (FSS) Medical Commission, says that it's a matter of days before fans return to our stadiums.

"Of course, there will be a certain number of people at the stadium and health measures and regulations will have to be respected. If we take into account the fact that Serbia is at a satisfactory level in terms of the number of infected people, then such a decision makes sense. The Crisis HQ is not commenting yet, but I think that the time has come for the fans to return where they belong," said Ristic.

Prof. dr Miljko Ristić Dr. Miljko Ristic; Photo: Marko Todorovic

"That is the reality, of course with the obligation to respect (coronavirus) recommendations of the authorities. Except in Red Star and Partizan stadiums, attendance is not high in our SuperLiga, so there is no danger of the pandemic spreading, plus the game is played outdoors," Ristic told Alo.

In any case, a debate about the return of the audience to Serbian stadiums will certainly become current only in the second week of October, because after this weekend, there will be a two-week break for national team football, when the Serbia squad will travel to Oslo for European Championship qualification play-offs.

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