Top Serbian Water Polo Club Coach Quits over Ethnic Hate Incident

Mirko Vicevic resigned as coach of Red Star Belgrade water polo club on Wednesday after fans at a match in the Serbian capital on February 5 displayed a banner with the slogan "Shiptar [derogatory term for an Albanian], Hrvat [Croat], Balija [derogatory term for a Bosniak] - they are not my brothers".

Vicevic, a Croat who was born in Montenegro, confirmed his resignation to Podgorica-based newspaper Vijesti on Thursday, but declined to make any further comment on the incident. He only became Red Star's coach on January 18, and this was his sixth game with the club.

A video published on the Red Star Belgrade fan group Delije's YouTube channel also showed supporters marching through the city before the match, singing "[Red] Star, Serbia - never Yugoslavia" and chanting the name of Bosnian Serb Army chief Ratko Mladic, a convicted war criminal. They then unfurled the banner at the match at the 25 May Sports Centre.

Red Star water polo club director Igor Milojevic said in a statement on Tuesday that the club "bears the greatest responsibility for the club and fans appearing in the media [over issues] that are not related to sport".

"On behalf of the club and on my own behalf, I publicly apologise to club member Mirko Vicevic, my club colleague and friend, as well as to the entire sporting public," Milojevic said.

The Serbian Water Polo Federation condemned the incident and announced that it will initiate disciplinary proceedings against those responsible.

Belgrade Higher Prosecutor's Office said in a statement that its prosecutor on duty considered that "the actions of the participants in the incident did not include elements of inciting national, racial and religious hatred and intolerance", but that the banner "may...

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