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Football | Europe

Red Star Belgrade © Action Images

Serbia comes to ailing Red Star's rescue



The government has vowed to help ailing Serbian football giants Red Star Belgrade, the former European Cup winners who have racked up more than €60 million in debt, local media said on Wednesday.

Red Star were plunged into crisis Tuesday when club president Vladan Lukic stepped down, saying that he could no longer lead the emblematic Belgrade team.

After the shock resignation, Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic held crisis talks with club officials and several Red Star legends that ran past midnight.

"What I can say for the state is that we will help Red Star but also (rival club) Partizan," Vucic told reporters.

Partizan Belgrade are also struggling with sources close to the club estimating their debts at up to 30 million euros.

"Because of the grave financial crisis (in Red Star) we have agreed to restructure the club's debts and to form a working group to stabilise and consolidate the club," the deputy PM added.

Red Star legend Dragan Dzajic, who headed Red Star when they lifted the European Cup in 1991 after beating Marseille, will lead the working group.

However, Dzajic, is currently on trial for embezzlement after being indicted in 2010 in a case involving other former Red Star officials and an agent for several players accused of misappropriation of funds during the transfer of players.

If found guilty they face up to 12 years in prison.

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