Red Star Belgrade refused Kosovo entry for Serbian Cup game against FK Trepca

Red Star Belgrade players
Serbian side Red Star Belgrade are in Tottenham's Champions League group

Red Star Belgrade said they are "bitterly disappointed" after a Serbian Cup game was postponed when their team bus was refused entry to neighbouring Kosovo.

Red Star, who are in the same Champions League group as Tottenham, were set to play FK Trepca on Tuesday.

The match was due to take place in the disputed region of Kosovska Mitrovica.

"We have come to play football and only to play football," club director Zvezdan Terzic said.

"We didn't come to deal in politics, but to play a football match."

The game has been rearranged for Thursday.

Analysis

Marko Protic, BBC News in Belgrade

Once again Serbian sport found itself in the middle of political games. And once again it was to do with Kosovo, which many Serbs still see as part of Serbia, despite the fact it proclaimed independence 11 years ago.

Red Star were forbidden to play a Serbian Cup game against Trepca in northern Kosovo where it has a traditionally large supporter base.

It can be seen as a sort of a propaganda move from Belgrade, as it was rumoured days before that Pristina authorities would not allow the game to be played. And Red Star still tried to enter Kosovo.

"When I asked the policemen why they don't allow us to pass, I was told that it was a decision of the Kosovo government," Zvezdan Terzic, Red Star's general director told reporters at the border.

He also claimed that this is "a diplomatic win for Red Star, the Serbian Football Federation and Serbia".

This is not the first such incident.

In December 2018, the Partizan Belgrade basketball team tried to play a friendly in Mitrovica, also in northern Kosovo, but they were also stopped at the border.

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